Virginia Beach lifeguards keep beaches safe during holiday weekend

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – The rainy weather this weekend did not stop visitors from enjoying the Virginia Beach Oceanfront.

“Great crowds on the beach, a beautiful day yesterday, and then it’s been a little hit and miss today with the storms that have rolled through,” says Chief of Virginia Beach Lifesaving Services Tom Gill.

With the unpredictable spring weather, Gill says beach-goers should be alert to weather patterns and recommends checking weather updates through smart phones.

“Just be aware it can change at any time and when we ask you to leave the beach, do that quickly because we not only want you to be safe, but our life guards as well,” Gill says.

There were a number of water rescues and children lost on the beach this weekend. Last year, they had around 350 water rescues, 150 medical emergencies where someone was transported to the hospital, and over a thousand children lost and reunited with families.

Gill says it’s important to not let children go to the shore alone or swim alone. Lifeguard stands also are numbered and he recommends that parents should tell elementary school aged children or older stand numbers to make it easier to find families.

“It will help them understand where they are because everything looks a like. For a young child with a lot of people out there, it’s very easy for them to get lost,” Gill says.

Lifeguards will be operating with 41 stands this Memorial Day from the jetty all the way to 42nd street. Those planning to go out in the water should be in the eyesight of lifeguards, and if there are any changes to water conditions, lifeguards can give those updates to make sure everyone is safe.

“The beach is open. It’s great. It’s good to be back. We want everyone to come down and enjoy a safe summer here for 2017,” Gill says.