Beach Safety Tips

Have a safe and enjoyable trip to the beach. Here are some tips on "how to play it safe" at the beach:

  • Beware the sneaker wave and incoming debris

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. They can carry heavy logs and other debris onto the beach with devastating power.

How to play it safe: Never turn your back on the ocean and always walk where you have an escape route to higher ground.

  • Stay off logs!

Climbing on beached logs can be extremely dangerous at any time of the year. Even a tiny amount of incoming water can roll a log on top of you. Even smaller woodland debris can be waterlogged and weigh tons.

How to play it safe: If you see a log in the surf or on wet sand, avoid it.

Advise small children to do the same!

  • Look out for deep water & strong currents

The deeper the water, the greater the risk of falling victim to an undertow (the seaward pull of receding waves breaking onshore). These currents can swiftly sweep unwary beachcombers and waders off their feet and out to sea.

How to play it safe: Stay in shallow water. Keep your dogs leashed and out of harm's way from rip currents and other unseen dangers.

  • Know the tides

Incoming tides isolate rocks from headlands and the shore. Avoid the temptation of strolling out to an interesting spot without knowing when the tide rolls back in.

How to play it safe: Stay off rocks and small, enclosed beaches. Know when the tide is coming in by obtaining a tidetable.

  • Always assume high waves can reach you

Tides and waves can sweep over rocks, jetties and headlands, knocking you off and carrying you out to sea.

How to play it safe: Assume nothing is "high enough" and avoid exposed rocks, jetties and headlands during strong wave action periods during and after winter storms.

  • Take care around high, steep cliffs

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 isn't raining.

How to play it safe: Make sure you wear proper footwear. Stay on the trails and behind guard fences and railings, and don't get too close to the edge!

  •  Heads 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 collapsing landforms and slides.

How to play it safe: Beware of falling rocks, and don't climb on bluffs and eroding hillsides. Don't walk along the base of cliffs unless absolutely necessary.