With Outer Banks’ beaches busier than ever, social media this week has been full of stories and photos about holes dug in the sand. So we’re offering a friendly reminder that those holes can be dangerous to people and wildlife.
Last summer, rescuers in Kill Devil Hills were called to the scene of a sand entrapment involving a young person. The beachgoer was freed from the sand and wasn’t hurt. But the event underscores the importance of being careful digging holes and burying each other in sand.
In 2017, a Texas woman vacationing with her family in Ocean City, Maryland, died after falling in a hole dug on the beach. Ashley O’Connor, authorities say, was walking on the beach and apparently fell in the hole during the night. It collapsed around her and she was smothered, her body found the next morning.
Holes on the beach also pose a hazard to ocean rescuers, who must navigate quickly to save lives, and to local residents who commute on the 4×4 beaches of the Currituck Outer Banks.
In addition to the danger they pose to humans, holes in the sand can be deadly to sea turtle nestlings, who may get trapped when they hatch. Sea turtle nesting season along the Outer Banks runs from May through August.
Dig away, just be very careful, and fill the holes when you leave.