EMERALD ISLE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) - Officials are warning swimmers about potentially deadly conditions along the Carolina coast ahead of Memorial Day weekend.
Six people have already died off of the Crystal Coast this year due to rip currents.
This is the busiest time of tourist season, and you can see beach-goers soaking in the sun, but on Emerald Isle, four people have died after getting caught in the rough rip currents, and two others on Atlantic Beach.
FOX 46 spoke with Emerald Isle police chief Tony Reese who stepping up emergency operations and wants to keep your family safe.
“In the 20 years I have been here, I’ve never know us to have rescues this early," he said. “The biggest thing you can do is remain calm."
The latest victim died Tuesday in the hospital after he was rescued from the waves on Sunday.
“It’s normally not this bad this fast,” one resident told FOX 46.
She said she’s concerned but still going in the water ahead of the holiday weekend, but she says she’s being careful.
“Definitely a lot more cautious."
Warning flags already up along the pier don't usually fly until Memorial Day weekend, but because of all the rescues, you can see red flags signaling high risk of strong currents, and lifeguards already on their post.
“Our intent is to double down on previous efforts to inform the public in the hopes that everyone will have the best possible experience while visiting Emerald Isle or other North Carolina beaches and enjoying the multitude of available water access opportunities and activities,” Emerald Isle police said in a press release.
To see their safety tips and list of frequently asked questions, click here.