Sadly, over the last year and a half, there have been numerous swimming-related fatalities along the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Critical trip planning prior to arriving at the beach may help to avoid future fatalities related to rip currents.
Between last summer and this summer, rip current safety messaging has been a huge topic of conversation at local, state, and federal levels. Daily rip current threats are broadcast all over Facebook and Twitter, and rip current safety warning signs have been placed at locations near beaches. There are even mobile rip current safety warnings displayed along NC-12 within Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The warnings and signs apply to everyone planning a trip to Outer Banks oceanside beaches. Yes, they apply to people on vacation, too. It is disappointing to find out that after making it through some rainy vacation days there may still be sunny days that aren’t safe for ocean enjoyment, but entirely heartbreaking to not plan your visit to the beach properly and lose a loved one as a result of strong rip currents.
The dangers of rip currents are nothing new. Back in the 60s, for example, rip currents were just as large of a threat to ocean enjoyment. I recently learned that in the mid-60s, a large group of boy scouts found themselves caught in rip currents and it took three lifeguards, three separate trips to bring them all back to shore safely. The big difference between now and the 60s is clearly the amount of easily accessible information for trip planning. A couple important sites to use when planning your trip to the beach are:
- Daily Rip Current Forecast: http://www.weather.gov/beach/mhx
- Rip Current Safety Information: http://www.ripcurrents.noaa.gov/index.shtml
In case you are planning your trip to an Outer Banks oceanside beach today, please take a look at the following warning.
PLEASE, do some trip planning before going to the beach. If you, or your loved ones, plan on going into the ocean, all the information you gather prior to your visit may save your lives.