Beach Access and Park Issues
May 28, 2010

Park Service opens two of three lifeguarded beaches on the seashore


During the summer months, the Cape Hatteras National Seashore provides three lifeguarded beaches.

The beaches are usually open Memorial Day through Labor Day.

This year, the lifeguarded beaches at Coquina Beach on Bodie Island and the Ocracoke Day Use Are will open on Saturday, May 29. 

Paul Stevens, the chief law enforcement ranger for the seashore, said yesterday that he hopes the lifeguarded beach in Buxton will be open soon.

Stevens said the holdup was not a matter of funding, but of Park Service procedures.  All candidates must undergo a federal background check. The hiring he said was done weeks ago for this summer’s lifeguards, but the background checks are still not complete on some potential employees.

Stevens added that since the Park Service has hired so far only enough guards for two beaches, officials decided on Coquina Beach and Ocracoke because both have established bathhouses.
The Buxton beach has also opened later than the others in the past.

Keeping lifeguards until Labor Day is also a problem, Stevens said. Many are college students who must return to school by mid-August.

Last summer the Buxton beach closed earlier than Coquina and Ocracoke.

Lifeguards will be on duty from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. seven days a week.

“Before going to the beach, please check with local weather sources for updated surf and rip current conditions,” the Park Service said in a media release. “Planning your visit to Cape Hatteras National Seashore will enhance your enjoyment and comfort.  Having an accident will spoil any vacation.  Please observe all rules and regulations for your safety.  Know your limits and understand the hazards.

  • SWIMMING. Do not swim in hazardous surf.  Please watch your children in and near the water at all times.
  • SEA LIFE. Use caution to avoid jellyfish and stingrays.  If stung by a jellyfish, do not touch irritated skin or wash with fresh water.  Shuffle feet lightly while wading to scare stingrays away.
  • RIP CURRENTS. Rip currents are strong river-like currents that move away from the shore.  If caught in a rip current, stay calm, wave for assistance, and swim parallel to shore. Don't swim against the current.  Once out of the current swim directly to shore.

For more information on rip currents

Local rip current forecast:  Click on marine forecasts on the left side of the screen. Look for rip current information forecast.

Eena Project:

Weather Channel:

National Park Service – Cape Hatteras Seashore

Hatteras Island Visitor Center – 252-995-4474
Hatteras Island Ranger Station – 252-995-5044
Ocracoke Island ranger station – 252-928-5111
Ocracoke Visitor Center -- 252-928-4531

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