VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) -- Red flags are flying at Sandridge Beach, due to rough surf.

The red flags warn that dangerous rip currents could be lurking underneath the choppy waves. They are powerful currents of water that move away from the shore, and can pull swimmers with them.

If you ever find yourself in a rip current, don't panic and don't fight the current. Try to swim parallel and out of it. If you can't seem to escape, try to float and tread the water.

Also: "Call for help. The rip current is not going to take you out in the middle of the ocean," says Tom Gill with Virginia Beach Lifesaving Service. "It's going to stop around the sandbar or just at the sandbar area, and when it stops you can either come back in or you can swim parallel and get back to the sandbar."

According to AccuWeather, "The best thing you can do is know that rip currents do not drag you underwater, they pull you away from shore."

The U.S. Lifesaving Association says rip currents account for more than 80 percent of rescues and 100 drownings each year.

If you're at the beach and see the red flags, check with lifeguards on duty for the latest status.