The last thing you want is for tragedy to strike when you’re on vacation with your family.
As you plan your trip to one of North Carolina’s many great beaches, safety is probably one of your biggest concerns.
The beach itself can be a dangerous place, especially for children. And if you’re unfamiliar with the area you’re visiting, you may be wondering just how safe North Carolina beaches are.
Are North Carolina beaches safe?
North Carolina beaches are exceptionally safe compared to other beaches in the Southeast. Not only do most NC beaches have lifeguards, but the area is not as prone to extreme weather like other beaches farther to the south and the water is relatively pollution free as well.
They are safe for swimming and relaxing along the beach. North Carolina beaches are safe because they prepare for severe weather when it hits the area and act accordingly.
North Carolina beaches are safe because they have lifeguards and make beach loungers and ocean swimmers aware of rip currents and other water problems like wildlife and protect the safety and well-being of all who visit.
When it comes to beach and water safety, one can never be too cautious as anything can and sometimes does happen.
From surprising rip currents to startling jellyfish and Portuguese man o’ war fish and severe weather or unsavory water bacteria or pollution, beach municipalities in North Carolina are prepared.
Every day trained, and skilled employees of these municipalities do their jobs to provide beachgoers with the safest experience they can have whether they live around the corner or hundreds of miles away.
Daily, the ocean waters are tested and inspected for pollution and bacterial overgrowth. These employees are also made aware of issues around their beaches of dangerous wildlife like sharks and Portuguese man o-war.
They constantly note the weather patterns and upcoming storms and act accordingly to protect the citizens who visit these beaches.
When necessary, the various employees of these beach municipalities will prevent swimmers from entering the waters by closing off beaches if their safety and well-being are in jeopardy.
They will warn beach guests if they need to leave the waters for a particular reason, which the beach lifeguard usually handles.
They will also rope off and post signs on beaches that are closed for various reasons. While these things can seem annoying during your vacation stay, it is important to realize that this is for safety reasons and must be adhered to at all times.
What makes a beach unsafe?
One thing that makes a beach unsafe is pollution, which can be pollution from the beach itself or the waters connected to it. Pollution comes in many forms, and even though we, as beach lovers, may not see an issue when a beach is closed, it is usually closed for a good reason.
Another thing that can make a beach unsafe is wildlife. Sharks, excessive jellyfish, and Portuguese man o-war can cause safety issues for those who swim in the water.
Therefore, if there are sightings of sharks or other dangerous wildlife issues, the municipality will likely close their beaches for safety.
Noted and unforeseen weather patterns or rip currents can make a beach unsafe for those visiting, and at any given moment, lifeguards may be required to close the beach or require that beach guests stay out of the water.
These issues can be disheartening if you are forced to give up your beach time or find another alternative activity for your time while you are visiting a North Carolina beach.
However, as hard as it may be, our safety and well-being are of the utmost importance, and these delays or changes should be respected.
Every beach or body of water can have bacteria which can vary from day to day and time of day.
North Carolina beaches, when tested, are mostly safe each time they are tested, near 70 percent of the time.
How do the North Carolina beaches compare to other beaches when it comes to water pollution and safety?
The North Carolina beaches compare equally to other beaches when it comes to water pollution and safety. These beaches are considered safe during testing almost 75 percent of the times they were tested.
As with any beach and ocean area, many things can affect the clarity or pollution of the water. Some of these factors are man-made. Others are not and come from mother nature itself.
Like everywhere else in the world and even on our bodies, bacteria grow. It is a complex business, how it grows, what kind it is, and how safe or harmful it is.
Daily and even hourly, the bacteria and pollution in the ocean waters can change and vary.
The tide, upcoming storms, the areas surrounding a particular beach area, and the earth that meets it can change its safety repeatedly.
That being said, North Carolina has some of the clearest, clean, beautiful waters along the Atlantic Ocean.
It is also important to think about how we as humans affect the beaches we visit and the earth and water around us. Making eco-friendly choices and being responsible when taking a beach vacation directly impacts the beach, ocean, and wildlife.
Taking the items, we carry onto the beach with us when we leave and disposing of them properly is very important. It is also important to do our part in helping each other. For instance, if we see trash along the beach, we may be tempted to ignore it since we didn’t put it there.
This may seem appropriate at the moment, but in the grand scheme of the ocean and beaches’ cleanliness and safety, it is not the right choice. Removing the trash is the best decision possible.
Also, not dumping things into the water that don’t belong there, like drinks or food, prevents excessive bacterial growth and damages the ocean’s delicate balance.
One might think, well, the ocean is so big, will it affect the bacteria of the ocean waters. Most often, the question isn’t, will it affect the bacteria, but how, when, and how much. Everyone needs to do their part when keeping beaches and the ocean clean as possible.
Beyond that, trained professionals who attend to the proper balance of bacteria in the ocean waters and mother nature will do the rest.
What are some tips for staying safe at the beach?
One of the best tips for staying safe at the beach is to pay attention to signs, beach closures, lifeguards, and other workers. Adhering to restrictions and rules keeps people safe.
Beyond that, being alert will also keep a person safe when they are in the water or on the beach. As safe as the municipalities strive to make the beach experience, anything can happen at any given moment.
Being alert, even during fun times, can ensure that everyone stays safe. Watching weather patterns in the sky, keeping a watchful eye on the waters when you are in them, and listening to those around you are important for your safety.
When in doubt, if you see something unusual that the lifeguard might miss, you can always get out of the water and immediately go to them to inform them of a possible issue for everyone’s safety.
Beyond that, another way to stay safe is to attend to your needs. Hydrate, use sunblock, and watch others around you and what is going on beneath your feet.
Dress appropriately, which might include the use of water shoes, so your feet don’t get cut or encounter foreign objects in the sea as well.
Safety is all about preparation and awareness. While no one can ever be completely safe at any given moment because issues can arise suddenly, being prepared and aware helps.
Visiting the beach in North Carolina may seem unsafe due to unforeseen issues, like storms, bacteria, and wildlife, but it is important to know that these areas are well prepared.
These towns and municipalities take safety very seriously because it is directly related to those living in and visiting their communities. If we all do our part to help, we can all rest easy knowing the beaches are as safe as they can be at all times!