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State Officials Send Safety, Warning Reminders for Oregon Coast; Video

Published 03/14/2018 at 3:35 PM PDT - Updated 03/14/2018 at 4:35 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection Staff

State Officials Send Out Safety, Warning Reminders for Oregon Coast

(Oregon Coast) – With the arrival of spring comes many more visitors to the Oregon coast, and it's cause for Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) to send out reminders about beach safety.

"March can be a tricky time of year on the coast," said Lisa Stevenson, OPRD beach ranger speaking at Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area. "The ocean can still experience stormy winter weather despite the warmer temperatures on land."

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A variety of threats and safety issues lurk all around this shoreline, in the form of powerful waves, unstable logs on beaches and erosion of rocks and cliffs.

"People are so excited for the spring sunshine that sometimes safety takes a back seat," said Stevenson. "But preparation and common sense go a long way to keeping you safe on the coast."

Stevenson outlined several tips for ensuring your trip to the Oregon coast is a safe one:

Keep your eye on the ocean – always. Bigger waves sneak in all the time and you could be caught off guard, knocking you down, or even worse, being swept away by one. Called “sneaker waves,” they are unpredictable, powerful and especially dangerous for children.

Stay clear of logs in the wet sand or anywhere near the surf. These logs can weigh several tons and can be moved by only a few inches of water. The ocean is strong enough to pick up even the biggest log and roll it over you.

Know your tides, especially when they start to come in. This is even more critical when exploring tidepools.

It's far too easy to become stranded by incoming tides if you're not paying attention. Tide tables for the Oregon coast are available at local businesses for free, and all over the internet – especially at the Oregon coast weather page. OPRD rangers also have them to hand out.

Be extremely careful on cliffs and rocks. These can be unstable due to erosion. Stay on marked trails and do not climb over fences. Both are there to keep you safe.

Two areas to be especially careful of are Cape Kiwanda and the Cook's Chasm near Yachats. Both are proving to be more dangerous than many other spots along the Oregon coast. Those visiting Cape Kiwanda should heed the warnings and fences and not cross over those boundaries. Several have died in recent years because they ignored those very basic precautions.

You can see the new Cape Kiwanda safety video on the Oregon State Parks YouTube page or below.

Cook's Chasm and Thor's Well have become a lightning rod for Yachats residents, who are on their own crusade to raise awareness about the dangers there. The rocky shelf that hosts Thor's Well attracts many photographers trying to get the ultimate shot of the rather unusual feature. Waves here are more hazardous than most spots on the coastline, and residents say they see multiple people every day walk out too close to the edges and get slammed or drenched by waves.

Visitors generally do not understand how far those waves come over the ledge, or they simply ignore it, believing themselves invulnerable. A good rule of thumb is if you see a basalt area is soaked with sea water, that means the waves have been or are still hitting it. Do not wander onto rocky areas that are wet in that manner as it means a big wave is only a matter of time.

You can see even more issues and hazards on the Oregon Coast Beach Safety page. Oregon Coast Hotels in these areas - Where to eat - Maps and Virtual Tours

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