What does a red flag warning for rip currents along the Crystal Coast of NC and Carteret County beaches of Emerald Isle, Indian Beach, Salter Path, Pine Knoll Shores, Atlantic Beach, and Fort Macon?
Likely, you already know the answer to this question. It means that conditions are favorable or have already been observed for the presence of dangerous rip currents that can be life threatening.
Unfortunately, armed with this knowledge, far too many people are still drowning at area beaches each year due to rip currents in which these warnings were posted.
Hopefully, the information below will help both locals and tourist visiting area beaches to understand these conditions so that you can best protect yourself, your children, and others.
- If you see red flags at any NC beach, DO NOT SWIM. Far to often, even in calf deep water, swift currents will prove to be too powerful even for the most experienced and powerful swimmer. I don’t care how strong you are, how much experience you have, you will find yourself overpowered.
- Deadly rip currents are common even when warnings are not posted.
- If you find yourself in a situation where you are caught in a rip current and there is a strong pull towards the ocean that prevents you from walking to shore or swimming to shore, fight every urge you have to struggle against it. Relax and realize that your survival likely depends on letting the current take you out as far as it wants, then swim diagonally to the beach and then swim back in once free.
- If you have a surfboard or boogie board, use it as a flotation device. If you enter the water in an attempt to rescue someone struggling in a dangerous rip current, do so with some type of flotation device and notify people around you to call 911 as you enter the water.
- If the ocean is rough and there are large waves while in a rip current, do not attempt to go over the top of the wave or let it hit you. Relax, and simply go under the water and let the wave roll over the top of you.
- Let the swift water current take you where it wants to take you. At most, a rip current on NC beaches will only go out a few hundred yards and then will release you.
- Again, if you hear about red flag warning at any NC beach in Carteret County or along the Crystal Coast or see red flags posted on the beach, DO NOT SWIM.
Filed under Atlantic Beach, Emerald Isle, Pine Knoll Shores, Salter Path, Indian Beach, Fort Macon