7 Beach Safety Tips for Your Next OBX Vacation

Before you pack your gear for a full day of sun, check out these safety tips to guarantee a grand day at the beach with no worries. These are 7 beach safety tips and things to watch out for during your stay on the Outer Banks.

In case of an emergency always know



Rip Currents

Rip Currents are currents that pull objects out past the shore break. If you get pulled into one do not panic, there are multiple ways to escape. Here is a Rip Current safety guide by the National Weather Service.

National Weather Service - Rip Current Safety
National Weather Service

You can take a small online training course from the NWS on how to identify Rip Currents here or by NOAA here.


Weather Safety

We would love it to be hot and sunny every day. Unfortunately, storms happen from time to time. Whenever it storms, stay clear of the beach; the likelihood of being struck by lightning is higher. Outer Beaches communicates the latest storm updates from the NOAA and Dare County so you won’t have to worry.

If you plan on swimming on a cold day, a wet or dry suit will help protect from the frigid water. Take caution in any water temperature below 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 C). (Source: coldwatersafety.org)

Avon Pier during a storm with lightning

Water Safety

The ocean can be unpredictable. Be sure you always know your child’s location and take them swimming with a responsible adult. Check your area to see if there are any natural obstacles and fishing lines. Swim away from fishing lines to prevent any accidents.

Water shoes protect against sharp ocean floor objects as well as on land. You can find them at most beach-ware shops.

Water wildlife

Our oceans are full of unusual creatures, and it is hard not to admire them up close, but these animals need their space as well. If you swim and see wildlife, respect their territory for their safety and yours.

Dog Safety

The beach is a fun and exciting place for you and your furry friend. To keep your furry friend safe and others safe bring a leash under 6 ft. It is a law for dogs to be on a leash to keep the wildlife and fellow beach goers safe.  Remember to hydrate and cool your dog from the harsh sun and sand.

Purchasing water booties can protect your dog’s soft sensitive paws from the hot ground.


leashed dog walking on the beach


Sun Protection

Bring sunscreen and other sun protection to prevent skin damage. SPF 30 sunscreen is the most common and blocks most UVB rays. To maximize efficiency, apply 15 minutes before sun exposure and reapply every two hours as well as after swimming.

Hats, umbrellas, sunglasses, clothes, and other coverings also help in preventing damage.

  woman squeezing sunscreen bottle

Lifeguarded areas

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Beach and Frisco Beach have lifeguarded areas and weather safety flags. The lifeguards are trained to watch for any potential dangers and react to anyone in need. They are open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., daily.

lifeguard chair in Buxton NC

In case of an emergency always know your location, OBR house number, and address. If you drive onto the beach, or park and walk, remember the ramp number so help can arrive as soon as possible.

Visitors can sign up for beach safety text messages by texting "Join OBXBeachConditions" to 30890


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