VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Red flag warnings have been posted at the Oceanfront for the first time this season and guards are reminding all people why they are important, according to the Virginia Beach Life Saving Service.
“We try to keep everybody knee to waste [deep] today just so they don’t get swept off their feet in a rip current,” said Sean Millard with the Virginia Beach Life Saving Service.
The flags were raised because conditions were right for rip currents. Rip currents are localized currents that flow “away from the shoreline toward the ocean, perpendicular or at an acute angle to the shoreline,” according to the National Ocean Service. “They usually break up not far from shore.”
Millard has been working summers at the Oceanfront for nearly 20 years and say they are dangerous for locals and visitors alike.
“The strongest Olympic swimmer is not going to beat a rip current,” Millard said. “For many, this is the first time they are seeing the beach.’
When red flags are raised, Millard hopes people visit the lifeguard stand.
“What we want everyone to do when they see the red flags is go to the lifeguards and ask them what the conditions are, why the red flags are up, and then the lifeguards will explain what we want the patrons to do, to be safe while they’re out here enjoying their summer.”
The Virginia Beach Life Saving Service has had a busy start to the season with more than 70 rescues on the first two days of Memorial Day weekend.