Bertha churning off the coast causing high risk for rip currents

Posted at 6:20 PM, Aug 05, 2014

At the Oceanfront, crews are busy getting the beach ready for the National Lifeguard Competition starting Wednesday.

Hundreds of lifeguards are flying in from around the country.

“The fact that they picked Virginia Beach for it this year, big time,” says Tom Gill with Virginia Beach Lifesaving Services.

They're in for some rough conditions while they're here, though.

“The rip tide’s pretty strong, says Dustin Stuart.

With Bertha churning off the coast, there's a high risk for rip currents.

The red flags went up on the lifeguard stands shortly before noon today.

“We know it's going to build throughout the day. We know it's going to be pretty strong this evening, into tomorrow morning,” says Stuart.

Gill says the flags will stay up until the water calms down.

This is the time of year when they start having to put them out more, but he says they did have to put them out more than usual earlier this summer.

The number of rescues they've made around 400 is what they typically see, though.

So far today, they haven't had any problems with swimmers.

And some of the parents in town for the Junior Lifeguard Competition say despite the rough surf, they're not worried.

“They won't let them out if it's bad, but you know, the lifeguards are here so we feel safe,”

Gill says he doesn't want the competition to be disrupted, but they'll be monitoring the water closely.

“Just like anybody else coming down here, we're going to make sure that the safety of our competitors just like our beachgoers is our number one priority,” says Gill.