Rip current dangers at Virginia Beach oceanfront

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As Tropical Storm Berly churns in the Atlantic near the Florida and Georgia coastlines, ripples of waves from the storm are causing red flag warnings at Virginia’s beaches for the Memorial Day weekend, making conditions ripe for rip currents.

“The water is a little dangerous,” said Virginia Beach Emergency Services Public Information Officer Bruce Nedelka.  “If you see red flags, go talk to a lifeguard.”

According to the National Weather Service, nearly 500 people had to be rescued from rip currents in Virginia Beach last summer.  Nedelka said there have not been any rip current rescues in the Sandbridge section of Virginia Beach this season, but there have been a few near at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront.  In both areas, Nedelka told NewsChannel 3 lifeguards are being proactive to keep people safe in the water.

“Often times, they make the mistake of becoming panicked,” said Nedelka.  “[If you are in a rip current] swim parallel to the shore, not directly back to the shore.

“The current is coming from the shore, and if you are trying to fight going directly back in a straight line, you’re gonna lose,” he said.