Coast Guard offers safety reminders as visitors gather to see the solar eclipse
NORTH BEND, Ore. – The Coast Guard is reminding the public of important safety measures as personnel prepare for an influx of visitors to the Oregon Coast and federal waterways leading up to and through the solar eclipse event on Monday, August 21.
State of Oregon representatives expect more than a million tourists to visit Oregon beaches, towns and campgrounds as the eclipse could be visible in Oregon for the first time since 1979.
"Many of the tourists who come to see the eclipse will be unfamiliar with the Oregon Coastline and its many waterways," the Coast Guard said in a news release. "They also won’t be fully aware of the dangers that come from regular changing weather, sea conditions, incoming and outgoing tides, rough and unstable cliffsides and many other potential dangers that are present along the coast."
The Coast Guard offers the following reminders to keep residents and visitors safe during the temporary rise in population.
• Beware of changing weather and sea conditions because they tend to change without much warning. Thick fog is routine most mornings and evening on the coast especially if it is hot inland. Also winds are often stronger in the afternoon and can make even walking on the beach uncomfortable and will change sea and waterway conditions
• Know when the tides are coming in or going out. Both of these events can change safe activities to dangerous ones especially if you crossed the river bars or are enjoying the marine life in tide pools. There are bar warning signs at every river entrance be on the lookout for them
• Never turn your back on the ocean whether you are snapping a photo, enjoying tide pools, looking at lighthouses or climbing on rocks. The ocean is a natural wonder and is very unpredictable
• Use a buddy system so you always have someone looking out for you. In addition we encourage you to let a 3rd party know where you are going to be and when you plan on being back
• Know how to report an emergency and know who to call in an emergency. If the emergency is land based call 911or if it is water or boat based call the Coast Guard on VHF-FM channel 16. Handheld radios will be more reliable than cell phones due to influx in people that may block normal cell service. If you don’t have electronic equipment just make yourself seen and heard any way you can
• Be courteous to others and watch out for each other because all navigational rules still apply especially in crowded waterways. Be patient because boat ramps may be crowded and extremely busy.
• Wear a lifejacket while boating and if you plan on swimming in unfamiliar waters that have currents and colder than expected water. The Pacific Ocean rarely tops 60 degrees even in mid-summer.
• If you plan to get out on the water, boating under the influence of alcohol, drugs - legal or otherwise is against the law and will get your activity terminated.
The Coast Guard says they will have extra personnel and assets at the ready up and down the Oregon Coast in case an emergency arises and our search and rescue capabilities are needed.
The Coast Guard will also be patrolling and working with first responders from other government agencies to remind boaters and beachgoers "that safety always comes first."