Lifeguards at Boynton Beach Inlet Park explain hidden dangers, recent increase of ocean drownings

Experts say inlet shape causes strong rip currents

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. - It is one of the most dangerous beach in South Florida.

Drownings near the Boynton Beach Inlet Park are becoming all too common.

Since January, three swimmers have died and another three experienced close calls with the dangerous waters. The most recent happened on Wednesday, when 20-year-old Jacobo Dorcely drowned.

"It's got a notorious reputation. It's a great place to be, it's a great recreational spot. But it's got dangers," said Brad Cripps, a lifeguard with the Ocean Rescue South District.

Cripps has worked the Boynton Beach Inlet Park for nearly three decades.

He said it is a combination of elements that make it dangerous. Cripps said the inlet was dug shallow and is very narrow. That creates strong rip currents in the area.

"Boats flip over, scuba diving injuries. You know people getting messed up on the jetties. Surfer problems. Rip current rescues," said Cripps.

Lifeguards said people have a habit of swimming in unguarded areas and sometimes after beach hours.

"You wish you could get everybody. You wish you could. But if we're not out here, there's nothing we can do about it," said Cripps.

While he has never lost anyone while on duty, he stressed the importance of being seen by another set of eyes.
"We know what's going on here. Swim in front of lifeguards. Swim during hours that we're here and pay attention to what you're told. Respect the ocean," said Cripps.

Lifeguards also said a decent amount of the people who run into trouble are tourists and are not familiar with the area.