Tragic reminder on importance of beach safety

Area visitors and residents received a tragic reminder last week on the critical importance of being aware of your surroundings while walking on local beaches.

A Waldport woman was reported missing late Friday afternoon. She had been walking her two dogs on the beach in the Bayshore area near Waldport. Her body was found in the surf near the mouth of the Alsea River around 10:30 that night.

The specific details of this tragic event are not known, but one thing we do know is that the power of the ocean should never be underestimated. Far too often, we publish reports of people who are injured or killed when they are caught unaware while walking on the beach.

We heard of another instance that occurred on Saturday, this time on a beach in north Newport. A woman, also walking her two dogs, had bent over to take a photograph of a fossil on the beach — with her back to the ocean. The next thing she knew, she was struck by a wave and was completely submerged. Fortunately in this case, she was able to scramble to safety.

These events underscore the need for all of us to give the ocean the respect it deserves. Few things are more enjoyable and relaxing than a walk on the beach, but there are rules that we need to follow to make sure this experience remains a safe one.

Here are some beach safety tips from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department:

  • Watch out for "sneaker" waves. Don't turn your back on the ocean.
  • Avoid logs. They're heavy, and can roll in very little water.
  • Don't assume you're safe. High waves can reach over jetties and headlands.
  • Beware of cliff edges. They may only look solid, or can be slippery.
  • Be wary of cliff bottoms. Because of collapses, they can be as dangerous as the tops.
  • Get a local tide table. An incoming tide can trap you in a small, enclosed beach.
  • Be watchful after storms. They can loosen logs or debris piles, even those that have been on the beach for years.

Enjoy our beautiful coastline, but please exercise good judgment and common sense. It could save your life or the life of a friend or loved one. Don't let an enjoyable visit to the beach turn into heartbreak.

More about beach safety can be found online at


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