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Oregon Coast Warning Video: Watch Dumb Folk Do What Not to Do on Beaches

Published 02/06/2018 at 5:55 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

(Oregon Coast) – The warnings go out every winter on the Oregon coast, and yet a handful of fools endanger themselves and sometimes others by heading out onto the smaller beaches when the tides are raging. It's a situation where the famed “never turn your back to the ocean” is simply not enough. They get hurt or get swept out, and then rescue crews have to risk their lives because of an unthinking or arrogant moment.

Yet it's all easily avoidable. It's very simple: don't head out onto small beaches with cliffs behind them during stormy weather.

There are numerous beaches broad enough along the Oregon coast where you can indeed go storm watching under some conditions, but many are too small to allow escape if the tides come pile-driving towards you, and the cliffs behind them make any escape impossible. Broader beaches with dunes and a path to the street beyond them are better suited to higher tide conditions.

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The warnings are nearly as old as time. Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) told Oregon Coast Beach Connection this back in 2007, and then have reissued the warning ever since.

“This is a good time to keep an eye on the ocean," said OPRD at the time. "Even the most experienced beachcombers can be caught unaware unless they stay alert."

The video above demonstrates this in all its madness: people venturing out onto one of those cliff-lined beaches when the tides are a bit too to be there. Here, you see Oceanside during a somewhat stormy winter event. This is not even necessarily high tide of the day, nor wave height much over 15 feet.

"Conditions like these will get you killed," said Oregon Coast Beach Connection editor Andre' Hagestedt. "Some will joke about this is the gene pool thining out, but it's quite serious. This is dumb stuff to do."

Above: Oceanside in normal tide line conditions

Other beaches like this to look out for are Nye Beach in Newport, much of Lincoln City, Gleneden Beach, and a myriad of beaches just south of Cannon Beach like Arcadia, Hug Point and Arch Cape.

Broad beaches like Cannon Beach, Seaside, Agate Beach in Newport, Waldport, Manzanita, Pacific City and others give you room to run. Not all the time, however, but that's a separate article.

At Oceanside, normally the tide is a good 100 to 300 feet away from the cliff line. That's about right, even if conditions are a little crazy. In the video, however, the general tide line lingers around less than 100 feet away, and you see larger waves shrink that distance to 50 feet between the tide line and the cliff.

You can tell the cliffs are right where the vegetation begins, and there is a line of large cobblestones just beneath that pose their own dangers should you be forced to run.

In the video you see a trio of unwise visitors venture out into this thin stretch, with raging waves tumbling less than 100 feet away, and all manner of sneaker waves waiting to come charging in. You see the group get chased up the small beach by one large wave and forced onto that cobblestone stretch. It's easy to slip on these and thus fall right into the ocean, not to mention break something.

These folks got lucky. Don't rely on luck.

In short, hitting the beaches during those famed Oregon coast storms is a bad idea. Stay away from ANYTHING with cliffs instead of foredunes. However, small beaches like this is a really dumb idea. If you see conditions like this and a tide line this tumultuous, don't walk onto these smaller beaches. If you're seeing less than 150 feet between the tide and a cliff line, that beach is trouble.

If you're tempted for some idiotic reason, then take a few minutes to watch the breakers and see how many times they scoot up the beach and get closer to the cliffs. Even in only slightly turbulent conditions you should do this.

Sadly, however, this isn't always enough. Oregon Coast Beach Connection was filming at Newport's Moolack Beach several years ago when we encountered this scene in the video below. There was generally plenty of room on the beach, with the tide line raging about two feet away. One or more sneaker waves came pile-driving in through that wide, normally safe distance.

Luckily, the videographer was standing at the pathway entrance to the beach and could make a good run for it. If they hadn't been, it could've been a different story. Where to stay in these areas - Where to eat - Maps and Virtual Tours

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