One of the big draws of living here on the coast is that you need only go outside your door to enjoy the awesome beauty of Mother Nature. And one of the most spectacular sights around is the mighty Pacific Ocean, with powerful waves crashing ashore that can rival any Fourth of July fireworks display.
On Nov. 15-17, the show should be exceptional. That’s because it is the first of this season’s king tide events. These occur just a few times during the year — when the moon’s orbit comes closest to the earth, the earth’s orbit is closest to the sun, and the sun, moon and earth are in alignment. The highest tides on those three days will all be 10 feet or greater. Other king tides will take place Dec. 13-15 and Jan. 11-13, 2021.
For those who choose to get out and enjoy the show, it’s extremely important to be mindful of what higher-than-normal wave surges can mean. Waves can crest well above what is normal for this area, even crashing into parking lots at a number of viewpoints along the coastline — sometimes leaving debris and even some fairly good-sized logs on the pavement as the water recedes.
All too often we have reported on tragedies occurring when people on the beach are caught unaware — being swept out to sea by a sneaker wave or hit by a drift log rolling over in the surf.
We’re not trying to discourage people from enjoying the views of the turbulent surf, but they need do so safely. People are encouraged to stay off the beach, but if you do choose to venture there, always be aware of your surroundings, don’t turn your back on the ocean, and definitely stay off the beach logs — a wave only four inches deep is enough to move a five-ton log, so that is definitely not a good place to go to avoid getting your feet wet.
There are plenty of places along the shoreline from which to watch the ocean without putting yourself in harm's way, so when you’re out there, be smart and stay safe. And if you see people who unknowingly are in a dangerous situation, say something. Yes, you might offend them, but that’s certainly a better alternative than injury or death.
For additional beach safety tips, check out the Oregon Coast Visitors Association website at visittheoregoncoast.com/visitor-resources/beach-safety.