Outer Banks, NC  - Vacation Travel Guide

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Outer Banks Area Features

Beach Safety

Safety for Swimmers

Always use caution before entering the ocean. Be alert for Red Warning flags and Red & White Warning Posters. If the red flags are flying ... it means swimming is prohibited ... please pay attention to them. Although the flags may fly when the weather seems fine, it’s hard to judge if the water is safe. Ocean swimming is not like swimming in a lake or pool, as strong littoral currents, rip currents, tidal currents near inlets and shifting sand can make swimming dangerous. Please read the swimming safety tips at lifeguard locations.

Rip Currents

Rip currents are powerful, channeled currents of water flowing away from shore. They are the most common surf hazard leading to swimmer distress and potential rescue.

What does a rip current look like?

  • A noticeable difference in water color
  • Gaps or flat sections in the waves breaking out in the water
  • Foam, or objects, moving steadily out to sea
  • A specific area of water that appears more turbulent than the surrounding water

Escaping a rip current

The most important thing to remember if you are caught in a rip current is DO NOT PANIC.

You should attempt to swim parallel to the shore for about 25-50 yards or until out of the rip current, then swim at an angle toward the shore. Many people try to swim against a rip current, but this is DANGEROUS. If in danger, wave for help, relax and tread water!

How do I help someone else?

Don’t become a victim while trying to help someone else! Many people have died in
efforts to rescue rip current victims.

  • Get help from a lifeguard.
  • If a lifeguard is not present, yell instructions and use arm motions to swim parallel to the beach.
  • If possible, throw the rip current victim something that floats.

Lifeguard Locations

Lifeguards are on the beach from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. Hours of operation vary. Most beach areas have roving lifeguards and supervisors. Hours and locations are subject to change without notice.

Duck - 10am-6pm
Schooner Ridge Dr., Barrier Island, Plover Dr., Four Seasons, Scarborough Lane, Caffey's Inlet

Kitty Hawk - 10am-6pm
Kitty Hawk Bath House-near KH Rd., Byrd St., Eckner St.

Nags Head - 10am-6pm
Albatross St., Epstein St., Hargrove St., Forrest St., Gray Eagle St., Bonnet St., Enterprise St., Juncos St., Coquina Beach, Gulfstream St., Hollowell St.

Kill Devil Hills
Hayman Blvd., 5th St., 4th St., 2nd St.,
1st St., Asheville Dr., Woodmere Ave., Carlow Ave., Ocean Bay Blvd., Oregon Ave., Clark St., Calvin St., Martin St., Atlantic St., Helga St., Lake Dr., Neptune Dr.

Ocean Acres Beach Access
Lake Dr.

Currituck County
Lifeguards are on duty from 9:30am until 5:30pm daily. Roving Patrols (4WD trucks and ATVs) travel from the county line, north to Penny’s Hill for your assistance.

Fixed lifeguard stands are located at: Villages at Ocean Hill, Corolla Village Road, Shad St., Bonito St., and Sailfish St. (Whalehead Beach), Section P, Section F, Section O and Section D (Ocean Sands), and the Currituck County Public Beach Access (Pine Island).

We strongly urge you not to enter the water after the lifeguards go off duty. NEVER swim after dark.

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