JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – It’s a quiet danger that can turn a fun day at the beach into a major problem.

One beach town is asking visitors and residents to stop leaving unfilled beach holes after having fun in the sun. Emerald Isle town officials say those holes endanger not only wildlife, but also first responders when they go unfilled.  

“We just want to try to create a safe environment for everybody out there on the beach strand,” said Emerald isle Ocean Rescue Coordinator William Matthias. 

That includes sea turtles. 

“They fall in those holes, either they can be turned upside down, they get discombobulated, and then they go back out to sea and don’t end up doing their nesting,” said Matthias. 

And it causes similar dangers to first responders. 

“When you’re going down the beach strain, even at the speed limit of 20 miles per hour, which is our speed limit along our beach strand, those holes can pose a dangerous threat,” said Matthias. 

Town officials say since April they’ve had over 100 reports of unfilled holes on the beach.  

“I know a couple of days, we had anywhere from 12 to 18 holes that were reported in the guards and along with law enforcement and other volunteers filled back in,” said Matthias. 

They think this increase could possibly be because of the influx of visitors to the area.  

“People are just not aware of it. And they’re not educated in the manners and those ordinances that are in place for these local beach communities,” said Matthias. 

And education is key. 

“You can build your sandcastles, enjoy those holes. But once you decide to leave the beach room for that day, we ask that you fill those holes back in,” said Matthias. 

To read more about the town’s ordinance about filling holes, click here.