Red flags warn ‘Water is Dangerous’

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Red flags flying along the beach at Sandbridge warn swimmers of rough surf and an increased chance of rip currents.

Lifeguards at the beach are on high alert as red flags indicate dangerous water. They are keeping swimmers only knee deep due to the windy, rough conditions.

Virginia Beach EMS took over lifeguarding at Sandbridge in 2010, and since then they have not had a drowning during their regular season but they are constantly warning the public about rip currents and powerful waves.

Bruce Nedelka, Division Chief for the department, said the lifeguards train daily for beach safety and rescue operations. Signs up and down the beach warn swimmers of rip currents, saying to escape one you need to swim parallel to the shoreline.

Other advice for beach-goers: Have a fully charged cell phone with you on the beach and know your location in case you need to tell 911 where you are. Keep an extra watchful eye on your children as they play near the water's edge.

During the preseason, Monday through Friday,  there are 9 lifeguards in stands along with supervisors and patrol staff. During the weekend, that number goes up to 13.

During the regular season, Monday through Friday, there are 12 lifeguards in stands along with patrol personnel and supervisors. During the weekend, that number increases to 15 lifeguards in stands.