Outer Banks Beach Safety Tips


The Outer Banks of North Carolina are located off the east coast. They are comprised of barriers islands that extend over 200 miles long creating an amazing vacation destination. Winds and currents play a huge role in beach conditions and it is important to be aware and stay knowledgeable. Learn to be safe by staying alert and following our guide to beach safety.

Visit the Outer Banks Visitor Bureau beach safety page for staying safe : 
Visitor Bureau Safety Tips and remember to #lovethebeachrespecttheocean

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Sign Up for Text Notifications

Established on July 3, 2018 the Emergency Management launched a text to join group. Anyone can subscribe by simply texting Join OBXBeachConditions to 30890. Subscribers will receive beach related NWS Alerts issued 24 hours a day for the Outer Banks. Users will also receive condition reports posted by ocean rescue personnel. In addition to text to join, anyone can sign up for Dare County Alerts and Notifications at www.darenc.com/emergencyalerts."

Safety Tips

Sun Exposure

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.

Beach Warning Flags

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. 

Severe Weather

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 NOAA or 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 thunder storm especially if lightening is involved. The National Weather Service recommends waiting 30 minutes before returning to the beach after hearing the last crack of thunder from a storm.  

Marine Life 

As much as we would like to ignore it, the ocean is home to an abundance of sea life and some can be 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 sandbars near steep drop offs and most of all stay aware while swimming.

Jelly Fish are another important sea creature to respect. Some Jelly Fish such as Moon Jelly are clear and therefore do not have venom to sting you. Other Jelly Fish can be purple, red, pink or blue and can hurt if they sting you. If stung ask your lifeguard for assistance or bring a spray bottle of apple cider vinegar with you to the beach, spray the stung area to remove the stinging sensation.  

Learn How to Identify a Rip Current



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"

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