Officials call for safety as many head to a dangerous beach to escape the heat

Some Bay Area beaches are flooded with people trying to escape the heat. There are a lot of great spots to visit in the Bay Area when the weather gets hot, but there’s one beach that’s not well suited for swimming or going too far out in the water because it’s too dangerous.

Ocean Beach in San Francisco has claimed many lives over the years, so first responders are preparing for a busy weekend of tourists.

"This is one of the most dangerous beaches probably in all of the state of California.  There’s incredible tidal changes in terms of movement and because of the currents here," said Glenn Kircher, Battalion Chief with SFPD.

They’re called rip currents, and they’ve killed many people over the years.

"If you do get caught in a riptide, you’ll know right away because it’s going to shoot you out probably within a second you’ll be out, 40, 50, a hundred feet out.  You don’t want to swim against it," said Kircher, who recommends swimming parallel to shore, while shouting for help. 

Throughout the hot Labor Day weekend, Ocean Beach is one cool but potentially dangerous place people are flocking to as they seek relief from scorching inland temperatures. 

Michael Scott and his family live just outside Sacramento. 

"We’re just trying to get out here to beat the heat.  It’s going to be 112 I think Monday and Tuesday so we figured we might come out here to the beach and cool off," said Scott.

Scott says he’s aware of the danger here, but not everyone is, and some don’t pay attention to the many warning signs posted along entrances to the beach.

Five to six lifeguards with the National Parks Service will be patrolling this beach through the holiday weekend, ready for rescues, and warning people it’s best to stay close to shore.  One man with his two sons on boogie boards got a recommendation from a lifeguard.

"She basically said, there are rough currents out there, but also for these guys to try to make sure to try and stay in water that’s about at their knee height and not to go too far out beyond that unless they had flippers on," said Keith Echols from Davis.

Lifeguards aren’t the only ones who save lives at Ocean Beach. 

San Francisco firefighters do too, and some were out brushing up on their surf rescue skills Saturday morning. 

"It’s not just to do training, it’s also to see what the currents are doing so that they’re aware," said Kircher.

Danger can easily be avoided by staying out of the water.

But for those who insist on going in, they’ll find hot weather relief.

"Freezing.  Very, very cold," said 7-year-old Andres Echols, who took a dip in the water. 

For those who prefer to stay out of the water, and would rather hike along the cliffs, first responders are urging them to stay on the trails. They say too many people are venturing off and risking their lives while trying to get that perfect selfie for Instagram, and it's not worth it.