Stay Eat Events Weather Beaches

The Most Dangerous Place on Oregon Coast: the Jetties

Published 09/21/20 at 9:41 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

The Most Dangerous Place on Oregon Coast: the Jetties

Latest Coastal Lodging News Alerts
In Seaside:
Includes exclusive listings; some specials in winter
In Cannon Beach:
Includes rentals not listed anywhere else
In Manzanita, Wheeler, Rockaway Beach:
Some specials for winter
In Pacific City, Oceanside:
Some specials for winter
In Lincoln City:
Some specials for winter
In Depoe Bay, Gleneden Beach:
Some specials for winter
In Newport:
Look for some specials
In Waldport
Some specials for winter
In Yachats, Florence
Some specials for winter

(Oregon Coast) – Almost every year something seems to happen on these man-made, rocky promontories, and it doesn’t take heavy surf conditions. They are what one Oregon official called an “attractive nuisance.” With each storm season, it’s a good time to reiterate that jetties – all jetties – along the Oregon coast are a big danger.

Robert Smith, a safety education coordinator with Oregon State Parks and Recreation, said jetties pose special problems during stormy conditions. These areas are not the jurisdiction of state parks, since the jetties are built and maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers, but Smith did have safety advice for those thinking about playing around on these boulder-covered structures.

“We would love it if they would find other places to play around,” Smith said.

Smith said you have to understand the power of the ocean.

“The jetties are put there to protect the harbors from the power of the ocean,” Smith said. “They are an attractive nuisance. Way too many times have people been washed away off these things. It happens too often.”

Rockaway Beach / Nehalem Bay jetty

There are warning signs placed on the jetties by the Corps, but Newport’s south jetty is a bit more accessible than many because of close by parking. Others, like those at Warrenton or Rockaway Beach still cajole climbers in spite of obviously raging conditions. The jetties at Coos Bay and Winchester Bay can also be problematic, certainly slippery. Oregon's Adventure Coast (Coos Bay's visitor organization) recommends playing elsewhere.

To further illustrate the deadly potential of these jetties, Smith pointed out the boulders that make up the structures are often around 2300 pounds. Yet the ocean moves these quite frequently.


Almost a decade ago, Newport’s visitor center began urging everyone to keep off the jetties entirely, although watching the waves from a distance can be spectacular.

“The north and south jetties are also especially pummeled, although you have to stay clear of them,” the center said in a press release. “Luckily, the broad sandy areas on both sides of the bay mouth let you keep far from them but see all the action. Do not go on the jetties.”

Other beaches to look out for in stormy conditions include small cove-like ones, like Short Sand near Manzanita, Oceanside, Hug Point near Cannon Beach, or some of the smaller ones between Florence and Yachats. There are plenty of these on the southern Oregon coast as well. Those small sand areas at Bandon and certainly Shore Acres State Park by Coos Bay can pose significant dangers.

“Any place where the power of the waves is concentrated is not my first choice,” Smith said. “Any place where there are cliffs and you can’t make a quick exit should a big wave come up.”

Smith said you can run into trouble even on a long, sandy beach, but it’s less likely. Still, if conditions are truly stormy, stay off even the broad beaches. Two women were washed out to sea several years ago by a sneaker wave in the Gleneden Beach area, which is fairly broad, but enclosed on the eastern side by tall cliffs that won’t allow you a quick way out.

These warnings also include even somewhat heavy conditions and not just stormy ones. Sneaker waves abound in even slightly high surf.

During storms, Smith said to keep up high, away from surf, rocky areas and sand.

“Stay up and away,” Smith said. “We recommend staying up high and off the beaches.”

More Safety Reminders

- Stay off logs under ANY circumstances, as water can lift them up and turn them over onto you

- Stay off rocky areas near the sea during heavy conditions, not just stormy ones, as large waves can toss up logs and other debris onto you

Oregon Coast Hotels in this area - Where to eat - Maps - Virtual Tours


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

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

Coastal Spotlight

LATEST Related Oregon Coast Articles

N. Oregon Coast's Hug Point Has Its Ancient, Millions-of-Years-Old Secrets
Just a few short miles of Cannon Beach you'll bump into Hug Point. Geology, marine sciences, history
Sci-Fi Connections to Oregon Coast Includes Star Trek, LOST, Stargate, 65
A varied and surprising list from Brookings to Astoria. Sciences
Leech Lane Access and Beyond the Arch at N. Oregon Coast's Arch Cape
Near Cannon Beach there's the arch, remnants of other arches and danger
Southern Resident Orcas Off Oregon Coast Designated as Endangered Under State...
Only 76 of this type of killer whale left in the region. Marine sciences
Dune Novels, Movies Began with Frank Herbert's Visit to Oregon Coast Dunes, F...
Dune: Part Two has roots in Frank Herbert's research in the National Dunes Rec Area
N. Oregon Coast's UnWined Event is Tasty Preview to Astoria's Crab, Seafood a...
UnWined takes place on March 16 at Astoria's Liberty Theater. Astoria events
Quiet Yet Hot Little U.S. Travel Destination: Rockaway Beach on N. Oregon Coast
Now, it's still seven miles of captivating beaches, often full of solitude
What Not to Do on Oregon Coast: Small Beaches During Big Tides, Video
Just about every year it happens somewhere along Oregon's coast. Weather, beach safety

Back to Oregon Coast

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