Nags Head approves resolution on beach holes

By on August 3, 2022

Measure calls for state legislating criminal penalties

(Kill Devil Hills Fire Department/file photo)

In a continuing effort to address the dangers of holes being dug and left unfilled on the beaches, the Nags Head Board of Commissioners passed a resolution during its Aug. 3 meeting seeking state legislation that would create criminal penalties for violations.

Citing the death of an 18-year-old boy that was killed on a New Jersey beach in May after the hole he and his sister were digging collapsed on them, the resolution asserts that the issue needs to be addressed.

“In the Town of Nags Head, there have been instances of damage to Town vehicles and equipment, particularly at night, due to holes that are not easily visible,” the resolution read. “Some municipalities have adopted ordinances that address this issue; however, these ordinances may not have enough power to force compliance; Legislation needs to be enacted.”

Currently, each municipality enforces bans on deep holes left unfilled on the beach through a patchwork of civil penalties, however, the resolution asserts statewide legislation “could increase our capacity to address the incredibly dangerous issue of holes on the beach.”

The dangers of large holes being dug and left on the beach have received significant attention locally this summer, with local ocean rescue chiefs holding a press conference in May to bring attention to the issue.

Since then, Nags Head Mayor Ben Cahoon has been in the forefront of efforts to create statewide legislation. Earlier this summer, the mayor reached out to coastal communities across the state, earning support from a number of communities in Dare County and beyond.

I’ve not had a negative comment that seemed to [indicate] that we were kind of overreaching to deal with this,” Cahoon told commissioners prior to the board voting on the resolution. Cahoon said town staff would now forward the resolution to other coastal communities asking that they consider adopting it.





  • crybaby

    Here comes the “my rights, my rights are being taken away.”

    Gonna get my popcorn and wait for the naive posts.

    Wednesday, Aug 3 @ 4:23 pm
  • Edward Graham

    The Outer Banks is becoming “New Jersey-like”.

    I was a supporter of the bridge from the mainland to Corolla, mainly because I used to live on Duck Road and it would have greatly improved the traffic situation in my neighborhood. But it is things like this that are making me change my mind.

    I hope that the bridge is never built. Making it difficult to get to the Northern Outer Banks is one of the main “benefits” of it hopefully not becoming over-built and ruined, not to mention the business loss that would occur for Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills and Kitty Hawk.

    It is heart breaking to see the disrespect of the beach and the environment that has been increasing from the tourists over the last 10 years or so. I remember a time when you could leave your shoes at the entrance of the beach, and not worry about them getting stolen. I remember when kids were told to stay off the dunes. Saga’s mega “houses” have made portions of the beach loud, obnoxious gatherings killing the solitude you were once able to enjoy. I guess we will have to start driving further south to get away from the crowd!!

    Wednesday, Aug 3 @ 5:14 pm
  • Al

    It’s criminal and should be treated as such.

    Wednesday, Aug 3 @ 5:44 pm
  • Dethrol

    Your streak is over…. A Resolution…. really? Enforce local ordinances already on the books. Absent such a law, write one and then enforce it; strictly, swiftly, and without prejudice. Last thing in the world we need to do is open ourselves up to any more encroachment from Raleigh or influence by people who live somewhere else. Where are all the people who constantly shriek about “the way things used to be” and “we don’t want to become another Virginia Beach (Myrtle Beach, Ocean City, etc.)? How do you think much of that occurs? What could possibly go wrong? I, for one, don’t want a bunch of politicians from all over the state (including Asheville, Charlotte, etc.) developing and creating laws about something that is unique to 8 of the 100 counties in North Carolina. Stop the madness now! Elected officials from towns in Dare County have no business ceding our independence by promoting State-level, binding, restrictive policies and laws that affect our citizens. Talk about a slippery slope.

    Wednesday, Aug 3 @ 6:14 pm
  • Freenusa

    I believe there are enough people on and off the beaches as well as life guards and other observant people, that if someone is seen digging a hole, they could enlighten them. According to the descriptions, these are massive holes. They take time to dig and I don’t think they are found on desolate beaches or dug at night. A lot of talk about a small problem. There are way bigger problems that actually have casualties.

    Wednesday, Aug 3 @ 9:18 pm
  • Steven

    Lock em up..

    Wednesday, Aug 3 @ 10:09 pm
  • Frank Moore

    Ben Cahoon is trying to become a “voice” on small issues so he can become a “bright star” on issues and end up in Raleigh. Go for it Ben !

    Thursday, Aug 4 @ 7:38 am
  • Steven

    Once again, look to the root cause, it’s not the holes that are the problem..

    Thursday, Aug 4 @ 7:57 am
  • Greg

    Beach hole digging simply needs to be an activity that needs to be made illegal. If the red flag is up one can be ticketed for swimming, a leash on a surfboard is required, tents have to be removed when leaving the beach and there are various pet rules. Patrolling lifeguards should warn the hole diggers to stop digging on their first pass and then if they continue when the lifeguard passes again they should be ticketed. What is the deal with digging a hole anyway?

    Thursday, Aug 4 @ 9:30 am
  • C A

    I had read before the start of the summer season that this beach hole digging thing was an issued TikTok Challenge that encompassed the entire east coast.

    Not sure about how accurate this is, but I did read about it happening. Then I began reading Voice stories of it happening here along our beaches.

    I don’t believe legislation, or resolutions are needed more than just local agency enforcement, and eradication. Lifeguard patrolling speaking to beach goers about it should take care of it.

    I do agree it’s been a problem, and fully understand why and how though. Let’s be careful to not over regulate when perhaps we can fix the problem ourselves

    Thursday, Aug 4 @ 1:49 pm
  • Lori

    I agree that something has to be done.
    The risk from a hole left not filled in it so unpredictable. The tide only fills it to a point.
    A fine is not unreasonable…
    Why dig a hole…can I go to their home and dig a hole in their yard?
    The beach is my home.

    Thursday, Aug 4 @ 6:25 pm
  • Leigha

    I think there is a lot to consider and I have some questions.
    So, no hole digging at all? Maybe a maximum size of hole? Or, just failing to fill a hole?
    How would it be enforced? What would it cost to enforce? How would beachgoers know if it was a criminal activity? Signs? I loved someone’s comment about having beach patrol actually talk to and educate beach visitors but there is a cost in manholes for that too.
    How many deaths are attributed each year to hole digging? How many injuries?
    How many tax payer dollars are spent on damaged vehicles? Other damage related costs?
    Questions respectfully submitted for answers please.

    Thursday, Aug 4 @ 9:27 pm
  • Douglas Krieger

    Maybe designate locations with clear boundaries to allow this.
    Not to be over Governed, but to provide a better community relationship to indigenous,and tourism personnel for the benefits of local economy and rapport with All.

    Thursday, Aug 4 @ 9:42 pm
  • A

    Here’s a negative comment: why the hell would you want to make people that dig holes on the beach a criminal? Are we going to patrol and threaten kids with cops and criminal penalties every day? This is so dumb. Stop driving into the holes.

    Friday, Aug 5 @ 6:28 am
  • KB

    I like to dig what I call a “swimming pool” for my grandchildren just below the high tide water line so that they too can enjoy the water. I certainly hope that people dont become to petty and start calling me out on such.

    Friday, Aug 5 @ 7:32 am
  • humanity at its best

    Doug, that’s like saying we should give an area for drunk people to drive. It’s not safe and shouldn’t be allowed.

    Leigha, do you plan to solve all the worlds problems with the information you get back from your questions? Tax dollars spent on damaged vehicles. How many deaths. I’m guessing you’re looking for numbers to convince you that digging large holes is a bad idea?

    Maybe try google and do the research. If I spilled a pitcher of soda on a table with guests, you’d be the guest that stands up and says “Oh no, somebody get a towel!” Why don’t you get the towel Leigha?

    Friday, Aug 5 @ 8:49 am
  • Amy Davis

    So, first, why wouldn’t we want all OBX Tiwnships to adopt the same policies on beach use, I.e., holes, etc. and secondly, what can an individual citizen do when a large hole is being dug on the beach? Is there a number to call? Let us know!

    Friday, Aug 5 @ 10:36 pm
  • C A

    God help us.

    Saturday, Aug 6 @ 10:55 am
  • Obxboxer

    Here’s an idea make the rental home owners, that are getting all the money from the rude tourist, to make sure they don’t leave the huge holes unattended when they leave. If you start ticketing the people who bring the tourist here maybe they will start to enforce rules about how they treat this place. Lifeguards should only be there to warn people of things like dangers of rip currents, sun burns, hole depths and save thier lives when drowning I don’t believe they should be asked to do anything else aka be police and ticket people. They are just usually teens, some are only here for the summer. Let’s have the rental companies and mega home/mini hotel owners take some responsibility for what their patrons do. They will go above and beyond fining the renters if they start to have to pay fees etc. Then it could maybe generate some money in a local fund that can go to things like cleaning up the beach or new playground equipment etc.
    Digging holes isn’t a big deal. But digging a massive hole and leaving it unattended is. Common sense says it isn’t safe! I’ve lived here my whole life and I never go to the beach in summer. It’s too upsetting. Tbh most of my family has already left the area because it’s become a different type of place than it was. It’s sad but some fines or something may be the only way to curb this stupid unsafe behavior. And that doesn’t mean people can’t dig holes, just means people can’t dig huge holes then leave them on public land unattended like a booby trap

    Saturday, Aug 6 @ 11:00 am
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