VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — More than 70 people had to be rescued from the water at the Oceanfront during Memorial Day Weekend, which officials say is higher than normal for this time of year.
In total, 74 beachgoers had to be rescued between Saturday and Sunday, according to Tom Gill, chief of the Virginia Beach Life Saving Service.
In 2017, a total of 435 people were rescued at the Oceanfront. Lifeguards have rescued more than 15 percent of that number just in this holiday weekend.
“Over the winter we’ve developed a lot of sand bars, with a lot of deeper troughs between that sandbar and the shoreline,” said Gill.
During the low tide, swimmers venture out to the sandbar and when the tide comes back in, the depth of water increases between the sandbar and the beach, making it more difficult to swim back, Gill said.
Gill recommends swimmers talk to the nearest lifeguard on duty for advice on the safest way to swim in that particular part of the beach.
He also says if there isn’t a lifeguard in one of the watch chairs, don’t go swimming in that area.