The Curry Coastal Pilot

Memorial Day weekend and the annual Azalea Festival marked the unofficial start of summer on the South Coast andndash; and tourist season.

While it's certainly a time to enjoy all that nature has to offer, it's important that we keep a wary eye out for natural and human hazards in our environment.

Foremost is the increase in vehicle and pedestrian traffic in and around our schools, homes and businesses. Parents: Please instruct your young skateboarders, bicyclists and walkers to follow basic safety rules andndash; such as looking both ways before crossing the street and not wheeling through crowds of people

Second is drinking and driving. In recent years, our community has suffered fatal and near fatal drunk-driving accidents involving young people. For those thinking of drinking and driving, please don't. For parents and guardians, please do whatever you can to keep your young drivers from getting behind the wheel drunk andndash; or riding with someone who is.

Even with the warm weather and clear skies, it would be unwise to underestimate the ocean or nearby rivers, with waters that contain many hazards.

Sneaker waves can happen any time of year and sweep people off the beach in the blink of an eye. Driftwood and rocks can shift, trapping and injuring the unwary.

The waters of the Chetco and other rivers may seem calm and inviting this time of year, but beware shallow bottoms, sudden dropoffs, sharp rocks and swift currents that can trap unwary swimmers.

The South Coast is a beautiful place in summer. It can also be dangerous. Please take the necessary precautions to ensure that your summer experience is one to treasure, not regret.