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Lifeguards staffing stands at the Virginia Beach oceanfront as of Saturday

Lifeguards will be on stands at the beach May 13th through September 17th and officials are still hiring.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Lifeguards are now on duty at the Virginia Beach oceanfront.

Chief of the Virginia Beach Lifesaving Service Tom Gill said although you may have noticed a few lifeguards on patrol last week, this weekend marks the first time guards will be active on theirs stands.

They’ll be there from May 13th through September 17th.

“This will be the first weekend with lifeguards on stands,” Gill said. “We only start out with 12 to 15 stands staffed in the beginning and then as we build up into memorial weekend we go pretty high-level.”

Gill said this is the start of the season and lifeguards are ready for the large crowds. But similar to past years, staffing shortages remain an issue.

“We see this in every industry – especially seasonal,” Gill said. “There seems to be a lack of people ready to come out and the lifeguarding is no different.”

Gill said his team is actively hiring.

“We want more people to come out,” he said. “We’re working on everything we can: finding more money to pay them, providing the best conditions possible – which we think we’ve always provided that.”

Meanwhile Gill said if you’re on the beach this weekend or next, he’s encouraging families to stick close to staffed lifeguard stands – rather than the empty ones.

“If you come out, you’re bringing the kids and it’s all of a sudden, it’s really hot and everyone wants to get in the water – move your family towards a stand that has a lifeguard on it,” he said. “It makes the job easy for the lifeguard to watch your family and for you to be able to also watch your children at all times.”

Gill said the biggest concern for lifeguards is always rip currents.

If you’re interested in becoming a lifeguard you can apply online at vboceanrescue.com.

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