Ocean Safety Tips
Beware of Sneaker Waves
They’re called sneaker waves because they appear without warning, often surging high up on the beach with deadly force, and are impossible to predict. Sneaker waves can often carry a large amount of sand that saturate your clothes and weigh you down. In order to stay safe, never turn your back on the ocean.
Watch Those Logs
It only takes four inches of water to lift a five-ton log. The ocean is strong enough to pick up the biggest logs and plop them down right on top of you. For your safety, if you see a log on the surf or sand, stay off of it.
Beware of Rip Currents
Rip currents are strong currents of water that have been known to swiftly sweep away unwary beachcombers and waders off their feet. They may appear as dark, choppy water. Anytime you see foam or debris floating out to sea, chances are you have found a rip current. In such a case, it is best to avoid the area altogether. In order to play it safe, parents should keep their children close when playing in the ocean. If you find yourself caught in a rip current, do not panic. Swim parallel to the beach until you are out of the current, and then head for dry land.
Know the Tides
When the tide is out, large rock formations can become exposed. Avoid the temptation to stroll out to an interesting looking rock without knowing when the tide comes back. Free tide books are readily available at state park offices, information centers, motels, and shops. In order to stay safe near the ocean, stay off rocks and small, enclosed beaches. Know when the tide is coming in. You may obtain tide tables by visiting the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration website.
High Waves Can Reach You
Tides and waves can easily sweep over rocks, headlands, and jetties, knocking you off and carrying you out to sea. In order to stay safe, assume nothing is high enough. Avoid exposed rocks, jetties, and headlands during strong ocean wave action, especially during and after a storm.
Beware of High, Steep Cliffs
When out hiking, assume that all cliff edges are unstable. Wet trails or soft sand and earth can make for unstable footing. Rocks can be slippery, even when it’s not raining. In order to stay safe, be sure to wear proper footwear and always stick to the trails. Always stay behind guard fences and railings and never get too close to the edge.
Always Look Up
Standing at the base of an oceanside cliff can be dangerous, especially if it has an overhang. In some places, winter storms and high waves have eroded the shoreline, increasing the chance of collapse and slides. In order to stay safe, always watch for falling rocks, and resist climbing on bluffs and eroding hillsides. Don’t walk along the base of cliffs, unless absolutely necessary.