Beach safety is an important part of an Outer Banks vacation

Play it smart to keep your vacation a safe one.

  • WHEN RED FLAGS ARE FLYING, SWIMMING IS PROHIBITED! Red flags fly during dangerous conditions, which aren't always evident to an untrained eye.
  • Do not swim alone.
  • Keep an eye on your children at all times! REPEAT Keep an eye on your children at all times!
  • Flotation Devices are NOT a substitution for swimming ability. Strong breezes and tide changes can cause dangerous drifting. Rely on swimming ability rather than flotation devices.
  • Inexperienced swimmers should limit themselves to wading-deep water.
  • Be careful of DANGEROUS RIP CURRENTS and SUDDEN DROP-OFFS. Rip currents have a noticeable difference in water color, a gap in the breaking waves and foam or other objects moving steadily out to sea. If you find yourself caught in a rip current, DON'T PANIC! Swim parallel to the shore until you are clear of the current. If you can't break free of the rip current, let it take you out beyond the breakers. Then swim diagonally toward shore. Never try to swim against the current!
  • Swim in an area clear of surfers.
  • Don't dive into unknown water or into shallow breaking waves.
  • Remain at least 300 feet from all fishing piers.
  • When in trouble, signal by shouting "Help!" Swinging your arms in a violent motion will tire you out quickly. It is better to conserve your energy and yell for help.

Yes, there are SHARKS! After all, it IS the ocean!

  • Don't swim far from assistance.
  • Stay out of the water at dawn, dusk, and night when some species of sharks move inshore to feed.
  • Do not enter the water if you have open wounds or are bleeding in any way. Sharks can detect blood and body fluids in very small concentrations.
  • Avoid murky waters, harbor entrances, and other areas near stream mouths (especially after heavy rains), channels or steep drop-offs. These types of waters are are known to be frequented by sharks.
  • Do not wear high-contrast clothing or shiny jewelry. Sharks see contrast very well.
  • Refrain from excessive splashing; keep pets which swim erratically, out of the water. Sharks are known to be attracted to such activity.
  • Do not enter the water if sharks are are known to be present, and leave the water quickly and calmly if one is sighted. Do not provoke or harass a shark, even a small one.
  • Be alert to the activity of fish or turtles. If they start to behave erratically, leave the water. A shark may be present.
  • Do not swim near people fishing. Stay away from dead animals in the water.

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