The waves can be a really 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 littoral currents, rip currents, tidal currents near inlets, and shifting sand can make swimming dangerous. Please read the swimming safety tips at lifeguard locations.
Lifeguards are on the beach from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, for Outer Banks towns except for Duck, where lifeguards are on the beach from May 1 through October 31. Most beach areas also have roving lifeguards and supervisors. Hours and locations are subject to change without notice.
Stop by any Outer Banks Welcome Center for your complete beach and safety guides.