VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – The first major holiday post COVID-19 restrictions is officially underway and Virginia Beach lifeguards say they are ready.
“People don’t often realize the dangers that exist out here,” said lifeguard Abby Frey.
Frey is in her fifth year of being a Virginia Beach lifeguard. This year is much different though than last.
“I think everybody’s ready to be out here, so it’s going to be a busy weekend,” Frey added.
Lifeguards say they’ve already had a glimpse of what a COVID restriction free Oceanfront will look like. Last weekend they saved 75 swimmers. Last year, there were less than 300 saves for the entire summer.
“There’s really not going to be that sit back and take a breath day,” said Tom Gill with Virginia Beach Lifesaving Service. “It’s going to be every day unless we get a total rain out.”
Lifeguards say swimmers should know their comfort level in the water and don’t hesitate to ask question when they get on the sand.
“I think it’s really important to come talk to the lifeguards about some of the dangers out here,” Frey added. “Like I said, some of them can be really small, but they can catch you by surprise.”
“The higher the waves, the more action we are going to see on rip currents,” Gill said.
Lifeguards are also using new maps to help them chart out hidden danger spots along the beach.
“It helps to know that rip current activity is high, red flags are going up, and here are our restrictions that are set up for the day,” Gill added.
Even though Virginia’s COVID restrictions are gone, swimming restrictions will still pop up from time to time, because lifeguards know that the conditions can change in a moment’s notice.
“We want people to know that when they are coming to the beach it is a full day athletic event,” Gill said.