ATLANTIC BEACH, CARTERET COUNTY - Thousands of people are vacationing along the crystal coast celebrating our independence day, but the ocean is churning and causing dangerous conditions for swimmers.
Atlantic Beach lifeguards said there were more than 20 rescues on the beach due to rip currents Thursday.
Flags are up in certain areas where the rip currents are strong, warning people to stay out of the water.
Tim Anstel said the rip currents aren't worse than normal but there are just more people on the beach.
"Every now and then the current pushes swimmers into the rips and we go in and help them," said Anstel.
He said people can still have fun, but need to be cautious before entering into the water.
"Be aware, just don't go in there blind and pay attention to the flags," said Anstel.
Cathy Smith said she'd rather swim with her family at their hotel pool than go into the ocean.
"I'm just glad I don't let my grandkids swim in it, you can tell the current is strong today," said Smith.
Lifeguards said you don't have to stay out of the water, just be cautious as we head into the holiday weekend.
Rip currents are being blamed for three drowning's that happened on Wednesday in Brunswick County.