NEW HANOVER COUNTY -- The 11 lifeguard stands at Carolina Beach are no longer manned, as the beach season comes to a close along the Carolina coast.
Hurricane Florence kicked up high surf along with waves of foam. Many visitors are enjoying the sand and sun, but staying out of the water.
"There's a lot of warnings to stay out of the water," said visitor Roger Ruel. "So we decide to take heed. We go in up to about our knees and that's as safe as we want to play it."
With no lifeguards, there are no flags to warn swimmers about hazardous water conditions.
The few swimmers who risked it said the rip current was very strong, enough to sweep swimmers far offshore.
"Number one, it takes you sideways," said surfer David Packett, "and number two, it pulls you out."
A handful of lifeguards were still on duty at Wrightsville Beach, where red flags were up on Tuesday, indicating it was advisable to stay out of the water.
"We're advising people that we're under red flag conditions, and only experienced swimmers and surfers should be out there," Wrightsville Beach lifeguard Jeremy Owen explained. "If they're inexperienced, we advise them to stay out of the water."
The small crowd of beachgoers left will have to wait a little longer for the water to calm down, as the high surf and rip currents are expected to continue for another day or two.
The beach season on Wrightsville Beach will end mid-October.
Reported by Sarah Warlick