Beach Safety Rules & Tips

lifeguard bouy

Each year, thousands of visitors enjoy the beautiful beaches of Currituck and Corolla on the Outer Banks. Currituck County wants to ensure this natural environment is maintained for years to come, and that our visitors enjoy a “sunsational” Corolla beach vacation!

Safety Information:

Pine Island Station 470 Ocean Trail (Route 12) Corolla, NC 27927
Whalehead Station  827 Whalehead Drive Corolla, NC 27927
Corolla Fire & Rescue Volunteer Fire Department sells T-shirts at the Pine Island Station.
Please contact us with any questions.
Corolla Ocean Rescue website

Learn More About:

Swimming Safety & Rip Currents
SEAL Program
Water Sense
Shark Safety Info from NOAA
Beach Driving Tips
Beach Access Locations
Handicap Accessibility

Here are a few tips, rules, and regulations that will keep our beaches safe, fun and clean for years to come:

  • Help keep our OBX beaches clean; remove all trash from the beach when you leave.
  • Unattended items (canopies, umbrellas, nets, poles, grills, etc.) should not be left on the beach strand overnight and should not obstruct traffic or pedestrian movement during the day.  Unattended items left on the beach will be tagged as a reminder to remove them each day by sunset.  Any tagged items left on the beach after sunset will then be removed in order to ensure the safety of our beach visitors.  Unattended items that have been removed will not be returned.
  • Walking or driving on the dunes is prohibited. The dunes are home to nesting turtles and vegetation specific to the area. In addition, they protect homes from flooding during a storm surge.
  • It is illegal to launch sky lanterns, commonly known as Chinese lanterns, anywhere in Currituck County. Sky lanterns are airborne paper lanterns and similar to a miniature hot air balloon. They are often powered by a fuel cell or candle that heats the air, fills the balloon and makes the lantern fly up into the sky.
  • Open burning – including bonfires – along the OBX beaches of Currituck County is not allowed. Self-contained portable fire pits with covers are allowed on the beach, but they have to stay contained in the fire bowl and have to be removed from the beach every evening.
  • Overnight camping on the beach is prohibited.
  • Stay at least 50 feet from wild horses (per County ordinance). Please remember they are wild and should not be fed.
  • Do not park or set up beach equipment next to the water’s edge or dune line; these are designated Fire, Emergency, and vehicular traffic lanes.
  • For your safety, when red flags are flying, SWIMMING IS NOT ALLOWED!  These red flags indicate rip current warnings. For current rip current information, click here to visit NOAA’s website.
  • Fireworks and bonfires are illegal in all areas of Corolla.
  • It is strongly recommended that all kayakers wear life jackets.
  • All surfers must be tethered to their boards.
  • Please refill any beach holes for which your party is responsible, as open holes are a safety concern for 4×4 vehicles and people.
  • Before choosing your spot on the beach, check to make sure you will not hinder the performance of lifeguards during an emergency situation. Maintain a clear path along the dune-line for patrol units and in front of the stationary lifeguard stands.
  • Please be sure to clean up after your dog(s). All dogs on the beach must be controlled by a leash or other like-device.
  • Wear sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher) at all times. Avoid the hottest parts of the day, from 10:00 AM until 2:00 PM, when the sun’s rays are the strongest.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
  • If a wave crashes on you while surfing or swimming, do not try to struggle against it to the surface. Curl into a ball, or go limp and float. The wave will take you to the beach, or you can swim to the surface when it soon passes.
  • Do not touch dead animals. Notify a lifeguard.
  • Jet skis are not allowed to be launched on the ocean or from any ocean beach location in Currituck.  Riding and launching a jet ski is permitted in the Currituck Sound.