Beach safety and awareness is an important part of making sure your family is aware of potential hazards and learns the safety tips when vacationing here on the Outer Banks. We are a barrier island destination so winds and currents play a huge role in ocean conditions so it is important to be knowledgeable about the power of waves, rip currents, marine life, and how to read the safety flags and what they mean. Be safe, be alert and following beach safety guidelines. Remember to #lovethebeachrespecttheocean.
Visit the Outer Banks Visitor Bureau beach safety page
Visitor Bureau Safety Tips.
Monitor the Weather and Beach Conditions • Sign Up for Text Notifications
Dare County Emergency Management launched text to join groups for the community and it's visitors to check forecasts and be informed when severe conditions are pending.
Anyone can subscribe by texting “JOIN OBXBeachConditions” to 30890. Subscribers will receive alerts and updates related to ocean safety and beach condition reports posted by ocean rescue personnel.
You can also sign up for Dare County's Emergency Alerts text "JOIN DareEmergencyAlerts" to 30890, anyone can sign up for Dare County Alerts and Notifications at www.darenc.com/emergencyalerts."
We love the sunshine and are sure you do too but prolonged exposure could lead to an unpleasant experience. Sun poisoning, heat stroke and sunburn can all be prevented. Using sunscreen and reapplying regularly is vital to prevent sunburn. Bring a hat and t-shirt to wear or sit under an umbrella if you feel like you are getting to much sun but aren't ready to leave the beach. It is important to stay HYDRATED! Freeze water bottles the night before your beach trip, as they melt you will have ice cold refreshing water throughout your beach day.
It is extremely important to follow and understand warning flags at the beach. Warning flags are not only for your safety but for the safety of the lifeguards on duty. Make sure to watch for flags, know what they stand for and respect them. RED means do not swim due to heavy currents, undertows and/or dangerous surf. YELLOW means exercise extreme caution. Even if you don't see large waves there could be rip currents and undertows that are very dangerous. Always check with a lifeguard if you are unsure about conditions.
Most beach areas have light afternoon rain storms which are nothing to worry about but occasionally severe weather alerts are issued. It is important to pay attention to any weather warnings issued by local authorities such as the lifeguard on duty or a weather app.
If you are alerted of a potential thunder storm with the possibility of lightening, seek cover immediately. Make sure you aren't in the water during a thunderstorm. The National Weather Service recommends waiting 30 minutes before returning to the beach after hearing the last crack of thunder.
As much as we would like to ignore it, the ocean is home to an abundance of sea life and some can be harmful or even dangerous. Make sure you're doing your part to prevent any negative situations from happening. Try not to swim near fishing piers where bigger fish feed, avoid swimming during evening hours, avoid wearing bright colored garments and shiny jewelry that might look like fish scales when in the water, exercise caution when swimming on sandbars near steep drop offs and most of all, stay aware of your surroundings while swimming in the ocean.
Rip Currents are a dangerous threat. It's important to know how to identify them from the shore and what to do if you ever find yourself in one, watch this video created by NOAA and learn how to "Break the Grip of the Rip".