Beware the dangers of Oregon's waves

April 28, 2010 06:00 am

The combination of large  waves and human carelessness have again claimed lives: those of two women believed to have been walking on a Port Orford beach last week when they were swept into the sea.

It’s a tragedy that can be prevented.

High surf is forecast for today through the weekend. If you visit the beach to witness the wave action yourself, practice caution. Sneaker waves can sweep people away in the blink of an eye.  In the last five years, more than six people have lost their lives in the Oregon surf.

Lest we forget, large waves also pose a danger to recreational boaters. Rogue waves have been blamed for several fatal boat accidents in Curry County.

In many cases, the victims were not wearing life jackets which would have increased the their chances of survival. It’s nearly impossible to find a life jacket and put one on after a boat has capsized or is swamped.

These tragedies are grim reminder of the ocean’s power, and the Pilot would like to prevent it from happening again. We offer the following tips:

Never turn your back on the ocean. Stay off jetties or any low flat beach. Stay away from edges of cliffs, headlands and rocks were waves are breaking nearby. Never climb on driftwood, especially when waves are high.

The South Coast is a beautiful place this time of year. It’s also dangerous. Please be careful.