No digging big holes on the beach

September 15, 2021 3:14 pm

Stop Digging Big Beach Holes

The Outer Banks is known for its spectacular sunrises and sunsets. Taking a leisurely walk on the beach to enjoy either is a worthwhile way to spend your time here. Nothing can ruin the experience quite like falling into a deep hole in the sand. No one knows what drives beachgoers to dig them, but they are dangerous to emergency vehicles, visitors, and even the sea life.

If you have never chanced upon – or fallen into – one of these holes, count yourself lucky. On a recent evening patrol, Kill Devil Hills Ocean Rescue Director David Elder came across a 7-foot-deep hole someone had dug in the dry sand. He and other emergency crews warn visitors about the dangers of digging these kinds of holes and ask they either not do it or follow certain guidelines if they must indulge their hole-digging urges.

No digging big holes on the beach.
(Photo credit: Ben Battaile)

Why digging holes at the beach is a bad idea

The Outer Banks offers individuals, couples, and families endless adventures and the freedom to explore shore life. While making sandcastles is always a good choice, digging deep holes is best avoided. Why? Here are some of the most pressing reasons why you should resist the urge.

• They can cave in on you (or someone else). This is probably the number one reason not to dig deep holes in the sand. Once a hole becomes more than a foot deep, the walls become unstable. Several accidents occur each year on beaches when holes collapse on people. The weight of the sand causes injuries and, in some instances, death.

• They make it hard for lifeguards. When someone is at risk of drowning or is having another emergency in the water, lifeguards need to move quickly. Navigating around deep holes in the sand can slow down lifeguards and other emergency responders. Worse yet, a lifeguard could injure themselves if they don’t see a hole and fall into it.

• They cause injuries to unsuspecting beachgoers. Lifeguards are not the only ones who might accidentally fall into one of these holes. Other beach visitors can be seriously injured or killed if they do not see them in time.

• They can injure sea life. Sea turtles lay their eggs on the beach. They can fall into one of these holes and become injured or die. The holes also pose a hazard to newly hatched sea turtles trying to make their way to the ocean.

If you must dig a hole . . .

We get it. Sometimes the temptation is too great. Or maybe you think nothing bad will happen to you, so you ignore warnings and dig that hole anyway. If you must dig into the sand of any of the beaches on the Outer Banks, follow these common-sense guidelines to keep yourself and everyone around you safe.

• Dig your hole close to the highwater line.

• Dig it knee-high to thigh-high deep only.

• Fill it in when you are done exploring.

There are plenty of other ways to have fun at the beach, including building sandcastles, kayaking, surfing, and playing beach volleyball or other beach sports. When you are done having fun at the beach, come see us at Ramada Plaza Nags Head. We have great views of the beach, plus other amenities to make your stay enjoyable.