Swimming Safety a Priority in OBX

  • Island Smoothie Cafe
  • 08 September 2023

Outer Banks pier

If you live in the Outer Banks or follow the news, you may have heard about the three drownings which occurred this summer. Of course, anytime there is a large body of water where people regularly swim, there will be occasional drownings. But, these accidents can be avoided.

Let’s take a look at some basic water safety which may save your or someone else’s life.

Life Jackets

I was actually a person who used to rail against enforced laws that required boaters to wear life-preservers. I thought it was un-American to force such a thing. But one actually saved my life.

I was just about 21 years old and riding on an innertube tied to the back of a motor boat. The driver got carried away and went too fast. Suddenly, I swung to the side of the boat and hit the wake dead on. I was flung about 25 feet in the hair and hit the water like a brick. I was dazed and confused and possibly out for a few seconds.

It is very possible that if I were not wearing that vest I would not be writing this article today. Not only is it possible, I’d say probable.

More Than One

If you go swimming with a buddy chances of getting into trouble when swimming goes down. This is because the other person can offer help the very second you need it. You can bonk your head and be disorientated and need a helping hand for a minute or two.

Pay Attention to Weather and Currents

The weather above the water can be dangerous when swimming. Not only can a swimmer get struck by lightning they can also get lost if the rain or fog is too heavy to see through.

Undercurrents are usually responsible for swimmer deaths. These strong undertows can pull a person 100 meters out from shore in seconds. The person tries to fight against this undertow and becomes exhausted while doing so. It is always best to swim sideways if you feel you are being dragged in an undertow.


In general, it is always safer to swim in an area where a lifeguard is on duty. This person is trained on how to look for, identify and save drowning victims. The lifeguard tower sits up high and gives them a good vantage point over the ocean.

When in Doubt Get Out

If you have a bad feeling about swimming, for whatever reason, get out of the water. This may be your intuition telling you that something is wrong. That there is a dangerous that your conscious mind is not aware of.  Get out and live to swim another day.


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