Dangerous conditions prompt red flags along Carteret County beaches

ATLANTIC BEACH, N.C. (WITN) – Red flags are spotted all along the Crystal Coast in Carteret County due to a high rip current advisory, as waves appear rougher than usual.

Beaches from Emerald Isle to Fort Macon are displaying red flags as the National Weather Service warns of dangerous rip currents.

Each beach along the Crystal Coast enforces the red flag advisory differently, but the overarching message is the same: be cautious when in the water.

One parent visiting from West Virginia says it’s important to watch children closely on days like today.

“Yeah, keep them close, I wouldn’t let them get too far out. They have signs posted all over the beach advising what not to do and what to do, especially if you go into the water. So, listen to the lifeguard, listen to the signs, just try and enjoy the sunshine” says Jack Skidmore.

Some communities, such as Emerald Isle, advise against swimming under these conditions, while others have lifeguards patrolling the beach and keeping a steady eye on beachgoers.

Indian Beach Deputy Fire Chief Will Jackson advises anyone going to the beach during high rip currents to have someone watching at all times.

“On red flag days, we strongly discourage anyone from entering the water. Strong swimmers, if you do enter the water, take a flotation device with you and always swim with someone watching you. If at all possible, swim near a lifeguard,” said Jackson.

An Atlantic beach lifeguard reported having to save someone caught in a rip current on Wednesday.

Jackson explained the severity of rip currents depends on their size.

“They can pull people out well off the beach strand, 100 to 200 yards. It’s basically funneling water from the beach back out into the ocean at a current faster than the water around it. So, it can pull you from knee-deep water to water over your head in a matter of seconds,” said Jackson.

The clear message from the Carteret County beach communities to beachgoers is to be aware, be safe, and not hesitate to ask for help, especially when rip currents are present.

For updates on beach conditions and rip currents click here.