Online Originals: Watch warning flags to protect yourself in the water at beaches this summer

Crystal Coast

EMERALD ISLE, N.C. (WNCT) —- With the weather warming up, more people will be heading to the North Carolina beaches. Lifeguards want to remind people to always stay alert while they’re near the shore.

Lifeguards say there are flags to help people know water conditions. Those flags are yellow, red, double red and purple. Yellow means moderate hazards, red means rip currents are more likely to occur and double red means the beaches are closed for swimming. Purple means that there are some dangerous marine animals in the water. Those are more rare.

Capt. William Matthias is the Ocean Rescue Coordinator for Emerald Isle. He tells us what to do in case you’re caught in a rip current.

The main thing to focus on is to float, to stay afloat. If you feel as though you can swim and you’re a strong swimmer, swim parallel and out from the rip current back to the shoreline.

Capt. William Matthias, Ocean Rescue Coordinator

Now, if you find yourself needing some help, it is advised to put your hands above your head and wave them around. Lifeguards won’t be able to hear you over the sound of the waves. 

You can check out the beach forecast for Emerald Isle and other locations by checking out the StormTeam 9 website.

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