• If you are aware potential coastal beach dangers, you can protect yourself

We all love the sunny day at the beach. Waves of the vast ocean hit the shoreline, sea birds are flying around, sunlight brightens our mood after a long work week and the refreshing wind brings us the salty smell of the ocean.

The Oregon Coast is beautiful, but there are risks for careless beachgoers. If you know about potential coastal beach dangers, you can avoid and prevent them staying safe at the ocean. Here are some potential dangers you might encounter.


Driftwood, or largely any object floating in the ocean or sea, is generally not dangerous if you pay attention. Dangers can range from tripping over a piece of a tree under the water to being hit in the head with a log carried by the wave.

Your best prevention is to pay attention to your surroundings and avoid swimming with powerful waves, especially if you see various objects being tossed around in the water.

Unstable Cliffs

Seaside cliffs can be very unstable due to water and wind erosion. A cliff seemingly appearing as a good photo-op spot can suddenly collapse taking you with it. Being aware of weak cliff signs might be life-saving knowledge.

  • The most noticeable sign of an unstable cliff is a landslide under it. Rocks and ground from the landslide are signs that the cliff is already weak enough that it partially collapsed at least once before.
  • If there are cracks in the cliff, it is a strong sign of its weakness. Especially if you can see cracks on top of the cliff.
  • Water running out of the cliff is a sign of significant erosion. While the ocean causes erosion on a long-term basis, water runoff can destabilize previously stable cliffs fast.
  • Vertical or undercut cliffs can have a toppling collapse which is much more sudden, fast, and therefore more dangerous than a regular landslide.
  • Tall cliffs can throw material to the much longer distances at the beach, so it is a good idea to stay farther from them.

King Tides

The name "king tide" came from Australia and describes an abnormally high wave occurring during the spring. King tides are rare, generally happening three to four times a year, however, the size and power of those waves make it extremely dangerous for beachgoers. King tides can go much deeper inland because of the mass of water they carry and they can even cause local tidal flooding. There are a few steps to keep in mind in order to stay safe from king tides:

  • Always be aware of your surrounding and pay attention to the ocean
  • Never turn your back to the ocean
  • Checking local tide tables might be a good idea to know what to expect during your visit
  • Always have an escape plan and escape spot, being able to get to the higher ground quickly might make a life and death difference.

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