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A trip to North Carolina’s beautiful beaches is an enjoyable and memorable experience for many visitors and families. Whether you’re going swimming, sailing or surfing, taking strolls in the sand or laying out to catch some sun or participating in any of the many other activities at our coastal attractions, we want your time at the beach to be as safe as it is fun. Here are some tips to help you stay safe.
General Beach Safety
- Dunes are the Town’s first line of defense in storms and hurricanes. Climbing on the dunes is not permitted.
- Beach tents, canopies and other beach equipment must be removed from the beach strand each night. Town staff will confiscate any unattended beach tents, canopies and other equipment left out during the overnight hours. Oceanfront property owners may qualify for a special exemption.
- Holes in the sand deeper than 12 inches must be filled in completely when you leave the beach. Large holes are a safety hazard for others using the beach, as well as for nesting sea turtles and their offspring.
- Camping overnight is not permitted on the beach strand.
- Sea turtle nests are marked with wooden posts, tape and signage, and should be avoided. The Town is a sea turtle sanctuary, and works diligently to protect sea turtles.
View a complete list of beach regulations.
Rip currents are very powerful channels of water that move at very fast speeds away from the shore and can quickly pull even a strong swimmer out to sea. It is important for all swimmers to know the signs of a rip current and avoid those areas. A few indicators provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) include:
- A channel of churning, choppy water
- Notable differences in water color
- Lines of foam, seaweed or debris moving steadily seaward
- A break in the incoming wave pattern
Rip Current Safety
If you see warning signs of rip currents or moderate or high hazard flags, stay out of the water, and alert others to do the same. If caught in a rip current, you should:
- Remain calm to conserve energy and think clearly.
- Never fight against the current
- Think of the rip current like a treadmill that cannot be turned off, but that you can step to the side of.
- Swim out of the current in a direction following the shoreline. When out of the current, swim at an angle, away from the current and towards the shore.
- If you are unable to swim out of the rip current, float or calmly tread water. When out of the current, swim towards shore.
- If you are still unable to reach shore, draw attention to yourself by waving your arms and yelling for help.
Check the National Weather Service Surf Forecasts for the latest rip current, high and low tide and surf height information.
Beach Warning Flags
Watch for flags posted at many beach access sites signifying water conditions. Flags indicate rip current alerts:
Red flag: for high hazard with rough conditions indicating rip currents
Yellow flag: for medium hazard with moderate surf conditions
Green flag: for low hazard and calm conditions
Always Swim with a Buddy
Although Emerald Isle is blessed with wide, sandy beaches and warm ocean waters, care should always be exercised when playing or swimming in the water. The “buddy system” should always be used, and children should not be left unattended. For emergency water rescue call 911, and the town emergency response personnel will be on the scene as quickly as possible.
Be attentive to any weather-related watches or warnings issued by the National Weather Service or local authorities, and follow carefully any precautionary directions or evacuation notices from public safety officials. When thunderstorms or lightning threaten, seek cover promptly in a large enclosed building or if not possible, an enclosed metal vehicle. The National Weather Service recommends waiting 30 minutes until after the last thunder crack before returning to the beach. You can always get the latest on tropical storm forecasts from the National Hurricane Center.
Lost and Found Policy
What is your lost and found policy?
Although we cannot be held responsible for items left behind, Emerald Isle Realty makes every effort to locate and return any lost items to you. Contact our office our fill out our online Lost and Found form and items found would be sent UPS COD and a $15 handling fee will be included. Unclaimed items will be donated to local charities after 30 days.
Things to Do
What is there to do on North Carolina’s Crystal Coast?
The Outer Banks in North Carolina is an amazing 200-mile stretch of barrier islands off the coast. Emerald Isle is just one of the many beach communities that make up the southernmost part of the Outer Banks. Start planning your Outer Banks vacation now and enjoy miles of golden brown sand and emerald-colored water like you have never seen.
Whether you have your own boat or need to rent one, there are plenty of marinas and boating access areas to choose from. You can even reserve a private charter for a scenic tour of the coast, book half or full day fishing charters or schedule an eco-tour.
Fishing in our coastal waters or on the beach? Don’t forget your fishing license! North Carolina requires anyone over 16 to have a license to fish in the state’s sounds, coastal rivers, and three miles out into the ocean. Find more information on obtaining your North Carolina fishing license.
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