Surf conditions prompt red flag warnings, restrictions at Oceanfront, Sandbridge beaches

Posted at 12:34 PM, Jul 18, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-18 17:56:24-04

Swimmers are once again being asked to use caution at resort beaches and Sandbridge.

Swimming restrictions have been put into effect and swimmers are encouraged to only go into the water up to their knees or waist.

Deputy Chief Tom Gill of the Virginia Beach Lifesaving Service says Northeast winds are increasing wave size and could even cause problems through the weekend.

But, lifeguards will be continually assessing conditions throughout the day, which means that could change at some point.

Red flags have been flying high a lot on the beaches recently, but according to Gill it's been an average summer so far. However, Hurricane Arthur did make things a little more complicated for Gill's crew during the Fourth of July weekend.

Even though the storm moved offshore by the afternoon on the Fourth, the ocean was too dangerous for swimmers forcing Gill's team to close the water.

While closing the water helped keep the number of rescues down for the weekend, it didn't stop a few dare devils from pressing their luck.

With lifeguards on staff and patrolling the shoreline on the Fourth of July, Gill says swimmers stayed out of the water during the day. But, once lifeguards finished up their shift and started leaving some folks decided to take a dip. Therefore, Gill says his team made 10 to 12 rescues that night even with the water still closed.

On Saturday, the red flag warnings continued to fly but the water reopened. That day, Gill says, his team made 60 rescues and had more than 100 reports of lost children, an average day during the holiday weekend.

Of all the rescues and reports that weekend, Gill says no one was injured and everybody was found safe.

Today's conditions don't compare to the Fourth of July weekend, at least not yet. Even though there are no swimming restrictions in place, Gill is asking swimmers to be careful and talk to a lifeguard if they have any concerns.