Virginia Beach, VA  - Vacation Travel Guide

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Virginia Beach Area Features

Beach Rules & Water Safety

Beach Rules & Regulations

  • Lifeguards are on duty from 9:30am-6pm daily from mid-May to mid-Sept. between 1st and 41st Streets and at Camp Pendleton, Croatan, Sandbridge & JEBLC Fort Story beaches.
  • Surfing rules are posted in all beach areas. No surfing is allowed (surfing restrictions north of 42nd St.) outside designated surfing zones 10am-4pm weekdays and 10am-6pm weekends between 1st and 41st Streets. For the area between Camp Pendleton and Rudee Inlet, no surfing is allowed outside designated surfing zones 11am-4pm daily.
  • Pets are welcome at the Virginia Beach resort area. From after Labor Day weekend up until Memorial Day weekend, dogs are allowed anytime on the boardwalk (must be leashed) and on the public beaches (and may be off leash).
  • During the summer months (from the Friday before Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend) dogs are allowed on the boardwalk only from 6am to 10am and must be leashed, and owners are required to pick up any feces. Dogs are allowed on the beach north of 42nd Street before 10am and after 6pm; are prohibited on the beach south of 42nd Street to the beach at Sandbridge; and allowed on the beach before 10am and after 6pm on the Sandbridge section of beach.
  • Rollerblades are permitted on the boardwalk, but skateboards, mopeds and bicycles are prohibited.
  • Glass containers and alcoholic beverages are prohibited on beaches.
  • Picnicking is not permitted on the sand dunes.

Rip Currents

Rip currents are powerful, channeled currents of water flowing away from shore. They are the most common surf hazard leading to swimmer distress and potential rescue.

What does a rip current look like?

  • Foam, or objects, moving steadily out to sea
  • A specific area of water that appears more turbulent than the surrounding water
  • A noticeable difference in water color
  • Gaps or flat sections in the waves breaking out in the water

Escaping a rip current

The most important thing to remember if you are caught in a rip current is DO NOT PANIC. You should attempt to swim parallel to the shore for about 25-50 yards or until out of the rip current, then swim at an angle toward the shore. Many people try to swim against a rip current, but this is DANGEROUS. If in danger, wave for help, relax and tread water!

How do I help someone else?

Don’t become a victim while trying to help someone else! Many people have died in efforts to rescue rip current victims.

  • Get help from a lifeguard
  • If a lifeguard is not present, yell instructions and use arm motions to swim parallel to the beach
  • If possible, throw the rip current victim something that floats
  • Call 9-1-1 for further assistance

Safety for Swimmers

  • Only swim where and when lifeguards are on duty. Check for beach/ocean conditions
  • Never dive into unknown water or shallow breaking waves
  • Do not swim near fishing piers, rocks, jetties or wooden pilings
  • Rely on your swimming ability rather than a flotation device
  • If you are unable to swim out of a strong current, call or wave for help
  • Keep your feet in the sand, until the lifeguard’s in the stand!
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