Beach Warning Flag System

The Town flies these flags at both Regional Beach Access facilities (which are served by lifeguards in the summer months), and on all Town beach patrol vehicles patrolling and providing services on the beach strand. Please look for these warning flags on our beaches and know what they mean, so that you can avoid hazards and have a safe and enjoyable beach experience in Emerald Isle.

GREEN FLAGS indicate that conditions are safe.  The Town of Emerald Isle DOES NOT USE GREEN FLAGS, as we believe that there are always inherent dangers when swimming in the ocean, therefore it is never completely safe and you should always use caution.

YELLOW FLAGS indicate moderate hazards, and that the public should use caution in the ocean.  In Emerald Isle, even the calmest of days on the beach can pose an inherent risk when entering the ocean and the public is always advised to use caution. 

RED FLAGS indicate high hazards and that the public is advised to stay out of the ocean.  When used, which is very rare, Emerald Isle places RED FLAGS approximately every 1/4 mile or less along the beach strand, at the Town's two regional access facilities, on all-terrain beach vehicles providing Town services on the beach strand, and at the two Fire Stations.

COMBINED RED AND YELLOW FLAGS indicate the presence of a lifeguard.  These flags are flown at the Town's two regional beach access facilities and will be affixed to any beach patrol all-terrain vehicles used by our roving lifeguards. 

 

These flags will also provide you with information about the surf conditions that day, by taking notice of which color is on top:

 

  • If the YELLOW half of the flag is on top, it indicates moderate hazards, and that the public should use caution in the ocean.
  • If the RED half of the flag is on top, it indicates high hazards and that the public should stay out of the ocean.  
PURPLE FLAGS indicate an abundance of potentially hazardous marine life in the vicinity, including Portuguese man-o-war, jellyfish, and other creatures.  The town will fly these flags as needed in specific locations, however, the use of PURPLE FLAGS is relatively rare.

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