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Water Safety Guide

By: Mary Cheatham King / 01 Jul 2024

There's nothing much better than enjoying a day on the Crystal Coast! Basking in the sun with toes in the sand and taking in the view of our pristine beaches is one of the most enjoyable things about living here. However, we know that there are always safety precautions when it comes to the ocean. We reached out to local firefighter, Brooks Graham of the Pine Knoll Shores Fire and EMS, who helped us put together our 2024 Water Safety Guide – chock full of information, tips and best practices for your weekend on the water! Keep scrolling for everything you need to know to safely enjoy the Crystal Coast —

Want to download this Guide to your phone to share? Flip through and download our Water Safety Guide below: 



Emerald Isle, Salter Path, Indian Beach, Pine Knoll Shores, and Atlantic Beach all have a unified flag system in place. So, if you're enjoying ANY of these Crystal Coast beaches, be sure to know what the flags mean:

  1. Double Red - Water closed to public use
  2. Red - High Hazard (rough conditions, such as strong surf and/or currents)
  3. Yellow - Medium Hazard (light surf and/or currents)
  4. Green - Low Hazard (calm conditions)
  5. Purple - Marine Pests (jellyfish, stingrays, and dangerous fish)

Check your town's Facebook page for any flag updates before you head to the beach! 
(click on each town below to visit their Facebook page)


Here are more water safety tips for your Crystal Coast visit:

  1. Know Your Location - Take note of your beach access name, mile marker, and (if you're renting a property) let everyone know the address in case anyone needs to call 911.
  2. Swim With Caution - Always swim with a flotation device like a boogie board with a leash AND by lifeguard stands. Never swim alone and have someone on the beach watching.
  3. Best Practices - 
    1. Make sure cell phones are fully charged before heading to the beach.
    2. If you do not have a flotation device, do not go in the water past your knees. 
    3. ALWAYS keep an eye on children (assigning adults to specific watch times, if needed!). 

Our local fire departments are passionate about water safety. Here are a couple more resources for you to utilize during your time on the Crystal Coast regarding rip currents and flag safety:


Stay safe (and have fun!), y'all! 

PS: Are you looking to take family photos on the Crystal Coast? Check out Kali Moeck Photography who took the cover photo above of an adorable little boy (safely) enjoying the ocean! Visit for her portfolio. 


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