Living in a Coastal community such as Newport Oregon is wonderful, with its miles and miles of uncrowded beaches. However, you should know that our stretch of the Pacific coast has the same kind of rip currents that generate news stories at crowded vacation spots elsewhere. The people who find themselves in trouble are usually from out of the area, but local residents can also be caught off guard while on the beach.
One of the most important things to learn is how to spot a rip current so that you can avoid entering the water near one. If there is a channel of choppy water that looks like it is churning, that’s probably a rip current. It will also be a little different color although it may not be noticeable if you are not wearing polarized sunglasses. Look for a line of seaweed, moving debris, or a line of foam moving toward the sea, and/or a break in the wave pattern. Any time you plan to enter the water, take a careful look around. The best way to be safe around a rip current is just to stay out of the water near one! The Oregon Parks Department put out a public service announcement a couple of years ago that hasn’t seen nearly enough air time. Check it out — and take a few minutes to watch the other water safety clips at the end.