A Sand Nourishment Update for the Town of Oak Island
Following the impacts of Hurricane Isaias in August 2020, the dunes on Oak Island are in a state of repair. An immediate rebuilding effort, involving the pushing of sand with bulldozers was completed in early October. While this helped provide immediate protection, there are still more long-term efforts underway nearing its completion in the coming weeks.
It remains important for the safety of all residents and visitors to stay off sand dunes, and other sand features where noted. Only use the appropriate street end accesses points that are available. Doing so ensures the long-lasting health of our beaches, and safety to the homes and businesses protected by the dunes.
Where Can I Safely and Legally Access the Beach?
Following Hurricane Isaias, the Town of Oak Island changed direct beach access guidelines for oceanfront properties. Direct beach access varies depending on the location of your vacation rental.
Oceanfront properties in the Town of Oak Island no longer have stairways directly facing the ocean. All beach leading stairways must be parallel to the dune or berm.
Access from oceanfront properties in East Beach is available through shared pathways installed by the Town of Oak Island approximately every 180 feet or at one of the many public beach accesses at most street ends. A map of the shared pathways can be viewed here while a map of all public beach accesses can be viewed here.
Access from oceanfront properties in East Beach is available through the use of a single or shared pathway for each property. These pathways are marked by either markers, flags, guide rope or roll out matting.
Guests may have to travel longer distances than normal to safely and legally access the beach even if they are occupying an oceanfront property. A list of public beach accesses including amenities, handicap friendly accesses and more can be found through the link below.
- As of 10:00 AM on April 8, 2021: sand distribution operations have begun in the area of the SE 63rd Street Beach Access Location
The following areas are planned to receive sand during this project:
- BASE PROJECT: Starts at SE 63rd Street access and heads west to 1909 E Beach Drive (between 22ndPlace East and 19th Place East)
- ADD ALTERNATE #1: Starts at 1909 East Beach Drive (between 22nd Place East and 19th Place East) and heads west to 329 East Beach Drive (approximately 6th Place East)
- ADD ALTERNATE #2: Starts at 329 East Beach Drive (approximately 6th Place East) and heads west to 101 East Beach Drive (approximately Middleton Avenue)
Use the interactive map below to track the progress of the current 2020 / 2021 Renourishment Project:
- This project has been completed and all equipment has been removed from the beach on the west end.
How Will the Beach Nourishment Affect My Visit to Oak Island?
Work involving both projects will be in effect 24/7. In the areas that are receiving active work, you may experience some temporary construction noise, illumination at night and closed sections of the beach. Outside the active construction areas, pipeline running parallel to the beach will be laid for sand to be pumped to the active construction area. Pipelines may remain in place in front of individual properties for the duration of the project. However, sand ramps will be constructed over the pipelines around 200 ft apart to allow pedestrian traffic over the pipe. The new dune structure, when completed, will reach 7-.5-8.5 feet in height and six feet in width. The town of Oak Island Council is voting on an option to add wooden accesses over the dunes to make accessing the beach safer for beach goers and the beach itself.
The Beach Moving Forward
All public beach accesses that were available prior to Hurricane Isaias will be restored and available to public use. These accesses will include roped off areas between street accesses. Residents and visitors are asked to follow these guided paths to help preserve the dunes. A map with these available accesses will be made available on the Town of Oak Island’s website.