A busy holiday weekend for Virginia Beach lifeguards, red flags flying

Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — If you dipped your toes in the ocean this weekend, you may have noticed the water was a little rough.

“I got beat up a lot. A whole lot,” said Zack from Roanoke. “Bring something that floats.”

“It was really rough. I barely go to go in because the waves were so big,” said Kylie, a visitor from Maryland.

On Sunday, July 4, lifeguards pulled 31 people from the water. Officials estimate 40 to 50 people were pulled from the water on Saturday.

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“The Fourth of July weekend has been everything we were imagining and maybe just a little bit more,” said Tom Gill with the Virginia Beach lifesaving service.

According to Gill, the rip currents along the Oceanfront are stronger this year and more frequent. Gill says this is thanks, in part, to the beach renourishment project completed two years ago.

“This year the sandbars have redeveloped and now we’re seeing breaks in those sandbars which is a cause for rip currents up and down the beach.”

Gill says there’s a lot of new beachgoers every day and it’s the lifeguards’ job to help educate them.

“What’s interesting about a rip current is if you find an area where it seems really calm and the waves aren’t breaking, that may be the worst area for your family, as opposed to the area with a lot of white water and surf. That might be a little better even if it doesn’t look as calm to you.”

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