/Atlantic Beach adds lifeguards, changes flag system after season with multiple rip current deaths

Atlantic Beach adds lifeguards, changes flag system after season with multiple rip current deaths

— As the weather gets warmer, beachgoers along the North Carolina coast may notice some changes, made in response to the number of drownings last summer.

Atlantic Beach will add more warning flags. They will be placed every eighth of a mile along the main strand.

The community has ended the policy of “green flag” days, saying they may have given people a false sense of security in an ocean that is always unpredictable.

Lifeguards will also start patrolling earlier in the season, weeks ahead of the usual Memorial Day start.

In 2019, 17 people died on North Carolina beaches. Two of those deaths were due to rip currents at Atlantic Beach.

Ali Joy with her husband in June 2018