FLORENCE, Ore. - A day at the Oregon coast can be a beautiful and fun experience, but officials are warning visitors of the potentially deadly threats posed by the Pacific Ocean.
“The ocean is beautiful, why would you want to look anywhere else?” Asks Sean Barrett, Division Chief Fire Marshall for the Siuslaw Valley Fire Department.
He smiles as he adds: “That’s good, because you always want to watch the water. Keep an eye on it at all times.”
A Curry County deputy saved the life of a teen on Monday after the boy was caught in a rip tide.
The deputy dove into the surf to try and rescue the teen, a move which Siuslaw Fire Department fire marshall Sean Barrett warns against.
“You can get into the same issue. Usually what happens is people in a rip current, you get out there you're in the same rip current, now we have two people out there,” Barrett said.
He said the best thing to do is to call 9-1-1 and let trained experts handle the rescue.
Barrett said it is important for those caught in a current to stay calm.
“The most important part with a rip tide - don't fight it. It's going to take you out no matter how hard you swim,” he said.
The fire marshall said it is best to swim parallel with the shore, saying eventually you will no longer be stuck in the rip tide’s pull.
Executive Petty Officer Kyle Betts with the U.S. Coast Guard said every beach has a different set of hazards.
“It's mostly knowing about where you're going and knowing what's out there,” said Betts.
His advice is to always keep an eye on the water.
One of the biggest hazards on Florence beaches is the danger of rolling logs.
“It only takes two inches of water to move a two-ton log. So it doesn't take much, water is a very incredible tool out there,” said Barrett.
One last tip: check the weather conditions ahead of time, and always check when high and low tides are.
"There are no lifeguards here. This is on your own, and you have to protect yourself out here," he said. "It's so beautiful to be out here, but you got to watch out."