A small southwest swell Thursday made the ocean off the Balboa Peninsula deceptively inviting. It caused an undertow that swept dozens of swimmers out to sea and kept the lifeguards there busy on the rescue front.
That day they had to pull more than 30 swimmers out of the water, some of them floundering, others "climbing the ladder" to stay afloat, said Brian O'Rourke, a Newport Beach lifeguard captain who warned those who do not know how to swim well to watch out for the warning signs and flags on the beach.
If the flag is yellow, which means "caution," then make sure to stay close to shore and pay attention to rip currents that can often act like a strong river current and carry directly out to sea. If the flag is red, you might not consider going into the water at all, he said, adding that if the flag is "green," there is little to worry about.