Our information on Emerald Isle NC rip currents, beach safety, and the warning flag system maintained by town officials is NOT official information from local officials. We are a private entity NOT associated or controlled by local emergency management officials in Carteret County. However, we hope that you will use the information in this article to further educate yourself on life-threatening rip currents that are common in this area of coastal NC.
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Additionally, please consider using the discussion form below to ask specific questions about rip currents or about Emerald Isle specific information.
If you have ANY questions about the warning flag system, where there are protected beach swimming areas, or need further information, we recommend talking to a local town official BEFORE entering the water.
Beach Safety And Rip Currents in Emerald Isle NC
- If you are inexperienced in swimming in the ocean, we SERIOUSLY recommend only swimming in lifeguard protected areas after you have educated yourself on rip currents and have consulted with town officials about hazards posted for the day.
- If you are swimming in an area not protected by lifeguards, you are responsible for knowing about warnings posted by town officials.
- Life-threatening rip currents happen even when the ocean is not rough, on sunny days, and when winds are calm.
- Even a strong experienced swimmer can be overcome by these currents in as little as calf deep water. Kids are HIGHLY vulnerable.
- As a parent of a young child, we DO NOT recommend watching your children play in the surf from afar. Please stand at the waters edge to monitor your children and have some type of flotation device close.
- All rip currents can be deadly. The best way to avoid them is knowing about the beach safety hazards for the day, being in a lifeguard protected area, close parental supervision, having flotation devices nearby, and knowing the survival skills if caught in any current.
- Even the most advanced swimmers will be overcome in a rip current, and no matter how strong you are, you will be at the mercy of the water.
- If you are swimming in the surf and suddenly feel a strong pull out towards the ocean and can not walk to shore or swim to shore, do not panic, relax, and let the water take you where it wants to take you. Conserve energy by NOT fighting against the current and yell for help.
- Do not attempt to go over ocean waves. When you experience a wave, simply hold your breath and go under the wave. Continue to not fight against the current.
- Do not be fearful that the rip current will take you out to sea. At most, the movement of water will subside a few hundred yards from shore. If you see that life guards are swimming to you, continue to tread water until he/she arrives and remain calm. If there is no response from life guards or you are in a non-protected area, once you feel the pull out towards the ocean subside, swim diagonal to the beach for 50-70 yards and then swim to shore.
- If you suddenly feel a pull back out to the ocean again, relax and let the water take you where it wants you to go and repeat the steps.
- Never, under any circumstances fight again a strong current. You will lose.
In the past three years along the beaches in Emerald Isle NC, several dozen water rescues involving strong life-threatening currents have taken place. And, they aren’t just from small children and inexperienced swimmers. Additionally, there have been far to many deaths associated with these conditions.
We STRONGLY encourage you to learn about beach safety, the warning flag alert system posted daily by town officials, to consider swimming in protected areas, and knowing the survival skills if caught in these conditions.
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