Stay Eat Events Weather Beaches

Video: Deadly Holes Hiding in Oregon Coast Surf

Published 08/31/2017 at 4:43 AM PDT - Updated 08/31/2017 at 4:455 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

(Oregon Coast) – Summer brings all kinds of wonders to the Oregon coast, but it also brings a deadly secret hiding in the waves you love to wade in. There are sometimes massive holes lurking beneath those breakers that can cause you harm, and most coastal authorities never warn you about them.

When sand levels get as high as they often do in summer, they create giant piles of sand and crevices between those piles. Sometimes, those mounds of grains and the pools between them sit in the tide line, where people love to wade up to their thighs, and that's where the deadly situation can start.

The spaces between them can suddenly drop as much as ten feet or more at times, and if you fall into one of these you're chances of recovering and getting out are not great.

Luckily, it doesn't happen very often, but unfortunately it's not talked about enough because of that.

On the north Oregon coast, they have the nickname of “crab holes,” but there doesn't appear to be a technical name for them. They basically refer to lower parts of the sand beneath the breakers that you can't see. These can suddenly drop a foot or two, or much more – even up to ten or 15 feet.

If you drop abruptly a couple of feet, it will hurt. The shock will shake up your system as well, but that sudden dip won't injure most people. The problem comes when these drops are over a few feet, and especially when it comes to children whose lesser heights put them at more risk. If you or a child falls into one deep enough, you could find yourself under water. Worse, that shock may not allow you to pull up fast enough and your lungs begin taking on water.

Keith Chandler, manager of Seaside Aquarium, said this comes about because of the piles of sand that build up during summer's more mellow wave action. They build up just beyond the surf as well right in plain sight on the beaches. You can often see this striking sight on many beaches around the coast: areas where the sand rises and falls in height.

It's this kind of terrain under the breakers you have to worry about.

“The sand under the ocean is not flat,” Chandler said. “There are holes, deeper spaces between those sand bars, and they can be deeper than you realize.”

For kids, a three- to four-foot drop can mean serious trouble.

On the extreme end, those ten-foot crab holes are just plain deadly.

Chandler said the shock of abruptly landing in such a way often causes you to breath in hard and fast. If for some reason the drop-off is low enough to put you under water – even if it's something you could normally swim out of – that instinctive breathing in means you've swallowed a mouthful of water.

A good example: note the massive patterns and dips in the dry sand at Newport. These happen underneath the tide line as well, and you can't see those sudden dips when they're filled with water.

What to look for? That's kind of complex.

“If you can't see the sand at your feet, it's too deep to go into,” Chandler said.

He went as far as to suggest not to go wading in the ocean at all, since people really need a trained eye to know what to look for. Oregon Coast Lodgings for this event - Where to eat - Map and Virtual Tour

Another important point, according to Chandler: walk back the exact way you came if you have gone out wading beyond your knees. Since these mounds of sand can drop off suddenly to the right or to the left of you, make sure you come back the same path you took.

Note the deeper area you must wade through to get to the main breakers a ways away. Be cautious of spots like this.




More About Oregon Coast hotels, lodging.....

More About Oregon Coast Restaurants, Dining.....

 

Oregon Coast event or adventure you can't miss

 



Coastal Spotlight


LATEST Related Oregon Coast Articles

High Surf Warning: 40-foot Waves Possible on Oregon Coast
Breakers will increase after 3 p.m. Monday becoming 30 to 40 feet overnight Monday
Oregon Coast Wildlife Now: Looking for Whales, Sea Lions, Birds
ODFW has some suggestions for wildlife viewing on the Oregon coast right now
High Surf, Wind Warnings for Oregon Coast, Flooding - Continues Through Wedne...
Major weather events through next week for Portland, the coast; some meteors tonight
Boiler Bay and the J. Marhoffer Shipwreck: Oregon Coast History
Part one of the story of the J. Marhoffer and Boiler Bay at Depoe Bay
High Surf Advisory: 25-foot Breakers on Oregon Coast Possible for Days
The bulk of the Oregon coast is currently under a high surf advisory
Meteor Shower, Comet Above Oregon and the Coast - Sort Of
The Geminids and comet 46P/Wirtanen are happening but mostly covered up. Astronomy, weather
Oregon Coast Officials Seek Input on Bike Route, Kite Festival Theme
Improvements to the bike route on 101, Lincoln City's festival theme contest
First Day Hikes: New Year's Walks Beyond the Oregon Coast
Astoria events, Seaside events, Manzanita events, Rockaway Beach events, Pacific City events, Lincoln City events, Depoe Bay events, Newport events, Florence events

Back to Oregon Coast

Contact Advertise on BeachConnection.net
All Content, unless otherwise attributed, copyright BeachConnection.net Unauthorized use or publication is not permitted

Oregon Coast Lodging
Rentals
Specials

Dining

Events Calendar

Oregon Coast Weather

Travel News

Search for Oregon Coast Subjects, Articles

Virtual Tours, Maps
Deep Details