Discovering Northern California's
Beach Safety Tips

Warning! Extreme Danger!

Your beach safety is important to me!

I hate to be a killjoy by starting out with warnings, but people drown off California beaches every year and it's because they didn't know about the danger, and they didn't know how to protect themselves.

So I'm going to give you some information about keeping it safe before we head for Northern California's wonderful but unpredictable beaches.

Beach Safety: There are Basically Two Sources of Danger

First are the Rip Currents - Often erroneously called Riptides (they actually have nothing to do with tides). Rip Currents are sometimes referred to as Ocean Rivers because that's how they behave, like a river in the ocean.

If you get caught in a Rip Current, you'll be dragged along the current's course, you may be unable to free yourself, and you may ultimately drown.

Second are the Sneaker Waves - Freak Waves, Monster Waves, Extreme Waves - they're all names for the same thing. It's a much larger-than-usual wave that comes out of nowhere and catches people by surprise.

You may be standing waist-deep very near the shore, or climbing on rocks near the water's edge, or building a sand castle on the beach.

If one of these waves catches you by surprise, you'll be dragged out to sea, may be unable to reach the surface, and may ultimately drown.

But it doesn't have to be that way, if you and your family will simply follow the guidelines I've outlined in the next section.

Beach Safety Tips to Protect You and Your Family

Beach and Driftwood from Mendocino Headlands by Wolf RosenbergBeach and Driftwood from Mendocino Headlands by Wolf Rosenberg
  • Always Keep your children close to you!
  • Always read and heed posted signs. They are meant for you!
  • Always check with the lifeguard about any dangerous areas nearby. (Presuming your beach has a lifeguard - many don't.)
  • Always watch the ocean and the wave patterns for 15 or 20 minutes prior to approaching the beach, the ocean, or the rocks and tide pools.
  • Always assume you are in danger and keep a look out!
  • Always keep one eye on the ocean! If anything looks strange in any way, move back quickly!
  • Never turn your back on the ocean!
  • One final piece of advice if you should be swept out to sea:
    Do not panic - keep your calm and keep your head
    Do not fight it
    - roll or float in the direction of the current (it will ease up)
    Once the current has eased - remain calm and swim or float-kick toward shore

And one final, final piece of advice expressed as a request:

Please, please - if there's a high surf warning or a tidal wave warning issued, DO NOT go down to the beach to watch the waves! You'd be amazed how many people do just that and get swept away!

Thanks for taking the time to read our beach safety tips. We hope they will add to the great adventures that you, your friends and family will experience in Northern California for many years to come.

Whew - Now that Your Beach Safety is Assured,
Let's Go Have Some Fun!

To get back to the beaches from whence you came, please hit your browser's Back Button. Or click on one of the links below to learn more about NorCal beaches:

  • Big Sur Beaches
    Big Sur Beaches are sometimes dramatic, sometimes peaceful, and sometimes dangerous. But they are always beautiful!
  • Northern California Beaches
    Though they're not always sandy and they're not always overcrowded like SoCal beaches, Northern California beaches have a lot to recommend them.
  • Northern California Nude Beaches
    For those of you who want to discover, or to avoid, Nude Beaches in Northern California: Look no further!

Please continue your exploration of what Northern California has to offer by using the Nav Bars in the left and right columns or by using the links at the bottom of the page.

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