Health and Safety

To protect your health when temperatures are extremely high, remember to keep cool and use common sense. The following tips are important:

Drink Plenty of Fluids

  • During hot weather you will need to increase your fluid intake, regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
  • During heavy exercise in a hot environment, drink two to four glasses (16-32 ounces) of cool fluids each hour.

Wear Appropriate Clothing and Sunscreen

Wear as little clothing as possible when you are at home. Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Sunburn affects your body’s ability to cool itself and causes a loss of body fluids. It also causes pain and damages the skin. If you must go outdoors, protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat (also keeps you cooler) along with sunglasses, and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher (the most effective products say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” on their labels)

Beach Safety Tips and Regulations

  • When red flags are flying, swimming is prohibited.
  • Fireworks and bonfires are illegal in the Outer Banks. Self-contained fire pits with covers are allowed on the beach, but must be removed every evening and leave no debris on the beach.
  • Help keep our beaches clean by removing all trash from the beach before you leave.
  • Unattended items (canopies, umbrellas, nets, poles, grills, etc.) should not be left on the beach overnight and should not obstruct traffic or pedestrian movement during the day.
  • Before choosing your spot on the beach, check to make sure you will not hinder the performance of lifeguards during an emergency. Maintain a clear path along the dune-line for patrol units and in front of the stationary lifeguard stands.
  • Please refill any holes you dig on the beach. Open holes are a safety concern for vehicles and people.
  • Please stay clear of the dunes. The dunes protect homes from flooding during a storm surge and are home to nesting turtles and vegetation specific to the area.

Swimming in the Ocean

The waves can be a fun place to bodysurf and swim, but you have to use caution and common sense to play it safe. If red flags are flying or red and white warning signs are posted because of high winds and surf sometimes caused by a storm, swimming is prohibited. 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 currents and shifting sand can make swimming dangerous. Please read the swimming safety tips at lifeguard locations.

Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety

Safety is a shared responsibility!

When you’re walking:

  • Look for cars in all directions–including those turning left or right or backing up–before crossing the street or parking lot.
  • Obey all pedestrian traffic signals.
  • At night, walk in well-lit areas, carry a flashlight, or wear something reflective to be more visible
  • Cross the street where you have the best view of traffic. At bus stops, cross behind the bus or at the nearest crosswalk.
  • Always walk on the sidewalk; if there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far from the roadway as you can.

When you’re bicycling:

  • Wear a helmet. It could save your life.
  • Obey all traffic signals and stop at “Stop” signs and red lights.
  • Ride in the direction of traffic and as far to the right as practicable.
  • Use front and rear lights and reflectors at night and be as visible as possible.
  • Use hand signals to indicate when turning.

For more information on pedestrian and bicycle laws in North Carolina, visit

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