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Beach Safety Tips from Dare County Emergency Management
As citizens and visitors head to the 110 miles of shoreline along Dare County’s Outer Banks, Emergency Management officials urge beachgoers to beware of potential hazards and safety concerns they may encounter as they take to the shores.
Monitor the Weather
Weather conditions can change rapidly. Check the forecast before you head out at http://www.weather.gov/mhx/RipHazard. If thunder roars, head indoors.
Swim Near a Lifeguard
Never swim alone. Lifeguards and information located on lifeguard stands provide beachgoers with valuable information about current beach conditions. In addition to roving ocean rescue personnel on ATV’s, lifeguards are stationed at the following beach access points:
Kitty Hawk - Byrd Street, Eckner Street, Kitty Hawk Bath House
Kill Devil Hills – Helga Street, Hayman Boulevard, Eden Street, Avalon Pier, Fifth Street, Third Street, Second Street , First Street, Coral Drive, Asheville Street, Woodmere Avenue, Carlow Avenue, Ocean Bay Boulevard, Oregon Avenue, Baum Street, Clark Street, Martin Street, Atlantic Street, Neptune Drive, Lake Drive, Eighth Street
Nags Head - Albatross Street, Bonnett Street, Enterprise Street, Epstein Street, Hollowell Street, Forrest Street, Gray Eagle Street, Gulf Stream Street, Hargrove Street, Juncos Street
Southern Shores - Hillcrest Drive, Chicahauk Trail, Dogwood Trail, 142 Ocean Blvd
Duck - Caffey’s Inlet, Barrier Island Station, Schooner Ridge Drive, Christopher Drive,
Four Seasons, Snow Geese, Scarborough Lane, Plover Drive
Hatteras Island (Cape Hatteras National Seashore) - Coquina Beach, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Beach, and the Rodanthe Beach Access.
Rip currents, encounters with marine life, submerged objects, sand bar drop-offs, and jellyfish are just a few of the hazards found in near shore waters. Stay alert to your surroundings and keep an eye on family and friends. Don’t let alcohol impair your common sense. When visiting the beach with children, adults should take turns as the designated “water watcher” and keep an eye on children in the water at all times, avoiding all distractions, including smartphones.
Marine Life Encounters
Ocean and sound waters are the home to a wide variety of marine life including predators like sharks. Beachgoers need to be aware of their surroundings before they make the personal decision to enter the water. Some tips to reduce your risks include: avoid swimming in areas where people are fishing and near fishing piers, avoid areas where schools of fish are active, don’t wear or take jewelry and shiny objects into the water as reflective light resembles fish scales, stay out of the water if you are bleeding or have open sores. These and other tips for swimmers can be found in a brochure called Shark Sense, published by N.C. Sea Grant and available online by clicking here.
Ocean rescue personnel and lifeguards must be able to drive on the sand day and night to quickly provide emergency services to those in need. Large holes in the sand can be difficult to see and are dangerous obstacles. Sand collapses can occur in holes just a few feet deep. Children and adults should not dig holes deeper than their knees when standing in them. If you do dig, fill it in.
Know Your Location
In an emergency, every second counts. The Dare County Sheriff’s 911 Communications staff may not be able to immediately identify your location from a cell phone. Pay attention to what street you access the beach or sound from and what milepost you are located near. If you are unable to provide an address or location of the emergency, response times can be hindered in life or death situations.
“Dare County is home to some of the most beautiful and natural beaches in the world. Beachgoers need to be aware that the natural environment also brings hazards like rip currents, lightning, excessive heat and encounters with marine life,” remarked Emergency Management Director Drew Pearson. “We encourage all beachgoers to keep these hazards in mind as they take to the shores this summer.”