Welcome To The Crystal Coast ~ Important Information and Safety Tips While Visiting The Crystal Coast!

Sea & Sound Access

Vacationing in Emerald Isle offers guests an expansive variety of family activities on the Crystal Coast. Experiences are available for absolutely everyone to enjoy. Local picnic areas, public boat & kayak launches, athletic courts & playground, & many public accesses across the island offer a slew of amenities that are available for visitors to enjoy. 

Paid parking is in effect from April 15 through September 17, 2023, at the Eastern and Western Ocean Regional accesses, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Payment will be $2-$4 per hour, with a maximum of up to $16 per day. Payment is accepted by debit or credit card only at self-service kiosks or through the Passport Parking app. You can view full paid parking details on the Town of Emerald Isle website.

Emerald Isle taxpayers and some select groups are eligible for two free parking passes through the Police Department. Visit the Town of Emerald Isle website for additional information on who qualifies for a parking pass and how to apply.

Emerald Isle oceanfront and sound side vacation rentals are available year-round & most have easy beach access. Also consider vacation rentals with pools, as they are family-friendly & convenient when the weather is less than desirable.  

Beach Rules & Regulations

The Atlantic Ocean is both majestic & powerful. Respecting her is of the utmost importance. Always be aware of current weather conditions in Emerald Isle & all along the island. Please pay attention to the Beach Warning Flag System & be well aware of rip current safety. Staying vigilant while having fun saves lives. The Town of Emerald Isle has set forth rules on how to keep yourself safe & Bogue Banks well preserved. 

Rip Currents and Your Safety

Staying Alive in a Rip current

Rip currents are a danger many travelers may not think about while on vacation, but they are very dangerous phenomena in which every beach is capable of experiencing. 

A rip current is a strong, narrow current flowing away from the beach. Rip currents can form at any beach with breaking waves, usually caused by the formation of two sandbars with a gap between them creating a suctioning effect. The speed of a rip current can exceed 6 miles per hour - faster than an Olympic swimmer & can extend many yards off the coast. Despite there being over 30,000 rescues per year in the United States, many fatalities occur due to rip currents.

Being knowledgeable about rip currents can help save your life & the lives of others. Stay aware & always follow the Beach Warning Flag System.

Rip currents are especially hazardous because they are difficult to identify, and the worst events can occur during otherwise good weather when your would lease except trouble. They also tend to be strongest during low tide & significant rip currents are more likely to occur with a strong onshore wind.

Sometimes you can spot a rip current because it can look darker than surrounding waters. They are areas where waves do not break, with breaking waves on either side. You can sometimes see water, or seaweed, moving away from the beach.

Check out these videos regarding rip current safety & ways to survive if you do get stuck in one.

Click here to view: Break the Rip of the Grip

Click here to view: The Weather Channel Explains Rip Currents

2023 Beach Safety Initiatives

Beach safety is crucial for both locals & visitors alike & the Town of Emerald Isle remains focused on building awareness year-round. Increased investments in personnel, equipment, and communication efforts will be highly visible for the 2023 summer season. Keeping the public safe is priority number one. 

Flag System

Emerald Isle utilizes the internationally recognized ocean condition flag system. In alignment with notifications provided by the National Weather Services (NWS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Town will fly beach condition flags between April 15 and October 31. A total of 30 large flags, measuring 4-feet by 6-feet each, will be placed along the Emerald Isle beach strand to notify beach goers of current oceanic conditions. It is highly advised that swimmers take heed of the notifications and act accordingly. 

New this year: solar-powered flashing lights at high visibility spots around Town to signify dangerous currents, which indicates that everyone should remain out of the water.

Stationary & Mobile Lifeguards

Emerald Isle will post lifeguards on the beach strand between April 1 and September 30.

Candidates can learn more about the opportunity to be an ocean rescue lifeguard in the future and watch a short job advertisement that outlines all that our lifeguards do.

Ocean Rescue Jeep

Two lifeguard stations will again be located at the Western Ocean Regional Access (WORA) and Eastern Ocean Regional Access (EORA). Mobile lifeguards will patrol four overlapping sectors to cover a large area of the strand, keeping a close eye on swimmers. 

Get Educated

Stationary iPads, pre-loaded with RIP Current educational videos, are available to the public. Stations are located at the Carteret County Visitors Center on Emerald Isle and other key locations throughout Town of Emerald Isle. 

You can also watch a series of ocean safety videos on the Town's YouTube page.

For additional information about the Town of Emerald Isle, visit their website or call 252-354-3424.