Virginia Beach Emergency Medical Services Recognizes National Beach Safety Week May 23 – 30

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The United States Lifesaving Association sponsors National Beach Safety Week each year in an effort to remind beachgoers to use caution in and near the water. The campaign runs May 23 through Memorial Day.

The Virginia Beach Department of Emergency Medical Services wants you to enjoy your time at the beach, but also to be safe. Swimming in the ocean isn’t the same as swimming in a pool. Marine life is swimming all around you, shifting sand is under your feet and waves can sometimes knock you off your feet.

  1. EMS offers these ocean swimming safety tip: 
  2. Always swim in groups and avoid secluded beaches.
  3. Never leave children unattended.
  4. Swim in an area monitored by lifeguards and obey all signal flags.  Red Flags = WATER IS DANGEROUS – Ask a lifeguard about conditions.
  5. Be aware of the tidal cycles and marine life in the area in which you are swimming.
  6. Know basic water safety and how to avoid and survive dangerous situations like rip currents.
  7. Avoid the water at night, dawn or dusk.
  8. Avoid wearing shiny jewelry in the water.
  9. Don’t swim in waters being fished or around fishing piers.
  10. Don't dive. Go feet first.
  11. Swim with care near sandbars or steep drop-offs.

Remember that flotation devices and boogie boards are NOT substitutes for swimming ability. Know your swimming ability and stay close to shore. Have a fully charged cell phone with you, take a photo of children (just in case they get lost) and set up a plan for when and where to meet during the day.

Beach lifeguards are on duty the following times and locations:

  • 9:30 a.m. to dusk daily from mid-May to mid-September between 1st and 41st streets and at Camp Pendleton and Croatan
  • 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend at Little Island Park and Sandbridge.  Lifeguard supervisors also patrol this area.
  • Weekends only from Memorial Day through Labor Day at Fort Story from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. 
  • Lifeguards patrol the North End beaches (42nd   to 89th streets) on all-terrain vehicles from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

For more information of water safety, visit, or call (757) 385-1999.