Oregon beaches, especially those along Curry County’s coast, are significantly different – and more dangerous – than the long, sweeping sandy shores of elsewhere.
Our different seascape – with rocky tidepools, towering seastacks and occasional sneaker waves – calls for different safety standards and practices. It’s also a place where the dangers are more obvious – and requires just a little common sense.
Frankly, we’re surprised that more tragedies don’t happen along our shore.
The dangers become all too clear with news reports of people falling off rocky outcrops or getting stuck on hillsides or falling off jetties or getting swept out to sea by large waves – all of which have been published in this newspaper.
And all of which could have been prevented.
There are clearly certain areas of the beach where people simply shouldn’t go – especially those known for their wildly-fluctuating tidal conditions, raging surf and slippery or unstable rocks or earth.
Even in more stable areas, such as those with gently sloping sand beaches, one must never turn his back on the sea.
It’s hard to prevent adventurous children – and some adults – from climbing atop beach rocks and steep hillsides, but they should at least be accompanied by an adult or companion should they slip and fall.
Perhaps the state, county or cities should implement stricter controls on particularly dangerous areas, such as jetties. Then again, those area can’t easily be policed nor is there money to do so. Certainly fences or other barricades can be erected, but they wouldn’t last long in our damp, salty environment nor would they be particularly attractive.
For now, the best prevention is education. And as long as people keep putting themselves in unnecessary danger, we’ll keep using this editorial space to remind people about the risks – and urge them to practice a little common sense.