BONFIRE REGULATIONS ARE DIFFERENT IN EACH TOWN, CHECK THEM OUT BEFORE YOU LEAVE HOME:
Unlike points north, you can build a bonfire in Nags Head. However, you need a permit and you can get one from the office of the town fire marshall. Fires will not be permitted if winds are 10 knots or more. A picture ID, the address of applicant, and the location for the requested fire are required. Fires cannot be built within 50 feet (15 m.) of any combustible material, including buildings, beach grass, sea oats and driftwood. In addition, the hollowed-out pit must be no larger than 3 feet (1 m.) in diameter and not less than 1 foot (30 cm.) in depth. The fire must be attended by a competent adult and must be put out with water, not sand, prior to leaving. Dare County's finest will patrol to check if you hold a permit and if you are doing it according to town regulations.
Rip Tides frequently occur in advance of hurricanes or tropical storms and cause many needless deaths by drowning. An awareness of their power and how to combat them is most important! Pay Attention!
Rip Tides are created by sand bars on the ocean bottom collapsing from a disturbance and increased activity in the ocean's movement. As mentioned, they are most commonly associated with tropical storms or hurricanes, but in some places they appear to be prevalent as a natural phenomenon due to prevailing currents and shifting sea beds. So it is with the Outer Banks of North Carolina... It isn't called the "Graveyard of the Atlantic" solely due to the demise of ships and boats!
A Rip Tide is a narrow path of water that pulls a swimmer out to sea. No amount of swimming towards the shore will likely overcome the strength of the water and will tire the swimmer... hense, a watery death. To survive, one must swim parallel to the shore until swimming out of the strong current, then proceed to swim towards the welcoming arms of land! Again, most rip tide currents are narrow yet powerful. Swim parallel to the shore until you escape this current and then proceed to the shore to live and swim another day! Be Smart! Be Safe!
THIS GOES FOR THE WHOLE OF THE OUTER BANKS AND ANY BEACH, REALLY:
Life guard stations post flags to signify the condition of the surf for any given day. Green means take the usual care. That is, don't drink alcohol, and be mindful of dehydration which the salt water and the sun can speed up. A yellow flag means to use extra caution such as avoiding piers and other obstructions that run perpendicular to the current. This is where most rip currents occur. A red flag means stay out of the water altogether. Even the most experienced swimmers can get dragged down by rip currents. The surf may look irresistable, but live to swim another day. These flags are there to help you, so mind them. Thanks to "keeweechic" for bringing this idea to my attention on her Galveston, TX page.
THIS IS REALLY BEACH COMMON SENSE ALL OVER THE WORLD:
Besides piers, you see a lot of people fishing right there on the beach. They say you would be surprised at how many fish swim that close the the shore. Those who like to walk up and down the beach early in the morning or late in the evening, mind the beach fisherman, walking around behind them to avoid getting hooked.
THIS APPLIES ALL OVER DARE COUNTY, NC and PROBABLY ACROSS MANY OTHER BEACH COMMUNITIES:
You can be fined up to $500 if you are caught and convicted of picking sea oats. These dune plants are supposed to help stave off erosion and keep the sand dunes in place.
THIS APPLIES ALL OVER THE OUTER BANKS OF NORTH CAROLINA:
The best advice on the beach and in water is to be very observant of jellyfish. There is now a jellyfish repellant which doubles as a sunblock. However, if you get stung by a jellyfish, have some meat tenderiser in your beach bag to soothe the sting zone.
Rememer when you are fishing for something that can drag your boat 9 miles to wear the proper safety gear.