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Lifeguards warn of rip currents, demonstrate rescue on first day of summer

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - With several drowning victims in 2018, the Lifesaving Service at the Oceanfront is taking action to protect beach-goers.

At the pier lifeguards jump in demonstrate a water rescue. They said summer is dangerous as rip currents form and deep troughs of water pop up with the changing of the tides.

Chief of the Lifesaving Team, Tom Gill, said his lifeguards have already preformed more than 200 rescues but they work to prevent them. "As opposed to just being first responders we life to think of ourselves as first preventers. We like to keep people out of those dangerous situations before we have to go in and make the big rescue."

Rip currents are channels of water moving away from the shore and oftentimes they take swimmers with them but if you get caught in a rip current, the experts advise you not to panic.

"If you can float you can survive a rip current. A rip current does not pull people under, it pulls them out," said Gill. He said to stay calm and swim parallel to the shore until you are free from the ocean's pull.

The Oceanfront has not had a single drowning yet this year, but the summer is only just beginning. The Coast Guard advises parents to stay close to your children in the water.

Boatswain's Mate Spencer Kelly said, "be in the water with them, or one arms distance away from them and wear a life jacket. It is better for your family to be safe than sorry."

To all beach-goers: Use the buddy system and do not swim alone. If you are on the beach and see someone in trouble, get a lifeguard or call 911.