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. Where to stay 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

Video: On and Off Run of Humpbacks Has North Oregon Coast in Awe
Humpback whales have been spotted in heavy numbers for the last month or two around the north coast. Kids, science, Seaside Aquarium, Astoria
Oregon Coast Jazz Party Swings into Newport for Three Days
Jazz fills a large hall in Newport on October 6 through 8. Newport events
Fall Equinox Brings Shorter Days to Oregon Coast, Maybe Moon Display
The autumnal equinox happens this Friday (September 22), right at 1:02 p.m. Science
Central Oregon Coast Kite Festival Takes on Superhero Theme
Lincoln City brings out the superheroes with its Fall Kite Festival September 30 and October 1. Lincoln City events
Oregon Coast Virtual Tour Lane County Video: Cook's Chasm Moving, Firing Off ...
See the spouting horn move. Between Yachats and Florence. Travel tips, kids, geology
Oregon Coast Shopping and Gifts: T-Shirt, Posters, Mugs, Vintage Items
Shop online for Oregon coast gifts, keepsakes, memorabilia, vintage items, clothing, hoodies, posters, more. Items constantly change
Video: Zooming in on N. Oregon Coast's Neahkahnie Overlooks, Its Details
Neahkahnie Overlooks are some of the most amazing views of the entire region; there's more than meets the eye. Manzanita, travel, kids
N. Oregon Coast Events Look to Future of Cannon Beach, Ancient Egypt
History and progress take the front seat, just as the area around Cannon Beach begins some changes. Cannon Beach 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