NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – It’s that time of year. Lifeguards are getting prepared to keep the beach safe and it’s no different in Norfolk.

“We are here to prevent injuries and prevent accidents and help educate and respond when we have medical or water injuries,” said Norfolk’s chief lifeguard, Dan Jones.

It’s through repetition after repetition that the team gets into tip-top shape.

“Running and swimming and we’ve been practicing our rescue skills,” he said.

Jones credits this training for saving a man’s life last year.

“It’s through training, so when all that clicks in, it’s a great feeling,” he said.

It was July 2, 2022—the peak of a busy Fourth of July weekend.

Jones just got done with a heat-related rescue on the fishing pier.

It was around 5:30 p.m. and he was riding around in his ATV.

“I was flagged down by a lady on the beach. Her husband had been swept out about 300 yards,” Jones said.

Jones assured the woman he’d go out and get her husband.

“I said keep an eye on me and I’ll bring him back to you,” he said.

Jones jumped into the water with his board in hand.

He paddled 400 yards out to sea.

“We were able to get him back in safely and walking and talking,” Jones said.

This rescue earned him the highest honor from the American Red Cross: the National Lifesaving Award.

He received the reward in front of the couple and his family.

“It was special,” Jones said.

Jones is using this experience and many others to train the future generation of Norfolk lifeguards.

His crew will be out this Memorial Day weekend to ensure you’re having fun safely.

Want to be a lifeguard?

If you’d like to join Norfolk’s team of lifeguards, click here.