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Safety a top concern as tourism at the Beaches increases

Published: Apr. 6, 2021 at 7:13 PM EDT
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PINE KNOLL SHORES, N.C. (WITN) - As the weather warms up, more and more people are packing up the car to head to the Crystal Coast, but leaders in one coastal town remind beachgoers to stay safe while enjoying the sun and surf.

The beaches in Pine Knoll Shores have steadily become more crowded over the last few days, and leaders there say they expect the area to get busier as we head throughout the rest of the Spring and Summer seasons.

To keep visitors safe while out on the beach, many of the town’s safety programs are getting ready to start.

Pine Knoll Shores Fire Chief Jason Baker says the town has already placed out ten life rings designed to help someone who tries to rescue a struggling swimmer.

Chief Baker says his crews are also making preparations to begin offering life jackets for beachgoers to use for the day.

“The life jackets are new this year. We’re putting up trees at a couple of our main accesses so people can get a life vest if they need one or feel more comfortable out there with one, small children, we’ll have different sizes out there,” explained Baker.

The town is also bringing back educational efforts like their drink koozies, with information written on them explaining how to escape rip currents. Boogie boards will also be available for day use at several beach accesses, and the town will also allow surfers to park for free.

Efforts are also increasing with the Police department. Chief Ryan Thompson says his officers are expanding the number of patrols they are doing on the beach.

“We’ve got an officer out on the beach four to five times a day, sometimes for around two hours at a time. We really want to be out there to promote what beach flag we’re flying for the day for rip current hazards and just provide a presence on the beach for the folks who are coming here to enjoy the beach,” said Thompson.

Chief Thompson says drivers also need to be extra alert when driving to the beach as more pedestrians will also be out on the road.

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