Press Release
Staying Safe in the Water

NPS offers tip to staying safe in the ocean during visits to the Seashore. 

Providing ocean safety and rip current awareness information to visitors is a top priority at Cape Hatteras National Seashore (Seashore). The following trip planning tips will help Seashore visitors stay safe in the ocean.

The Atlantic Ocean, located off the eastern side of the Seashore, produces a number of safety challenges for underprepared visitors every year.

Rip Currents
Rip currents are powerful, channeled currents of water flowing away from shore. They typically extend from the shoreline, through the surf zone, and past the line of breaking waves. Rip currents can occur at any beach with breaking waves.

If you find yourself caught in a rip current, don’t swim against the current. FLOAT DON’T FIGHT! Remain calm and swim across the current (parallel to the shore), slowly working your way back to the beach at an angle. If you are still unable to reach the beach, draw attention to yourself by waving your arms and yelling for help.

Lifeguarded Beaches
Lifeguarded beaches are by far the safest places to swim at the Seashore. There are four beach locations that are staffed with lifeguards from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day (9am-5pm). The locations of the four lifeguarded beaches are:

Staying Safe in the Water

Ocean Safety Tips

Public Outreach Facts & Figures

The Outer Banks and Cape Hatteras National Seashore are beautiful places to visit. Please take some time to learn this important information to help ensure you create wonderful memories with your families.

For safety concerns not addressed here, go to the Seashore’s safety page at