Police urge caution amid consecutive days of surf rescues

The Ocean Shores Police Department is advising people to be more cautious with their actions after back-to-back days of distress reports on the coastline.

Two surf rescues were conducted last week in Ocean Shores. The first occurred on Aug. 15, when authorities were dispatched to respond to a young woman who was being thrown around by the current into the rocks of the North Jetty.

The next incident occurred on Aug. 16, when police responded to a report of an adult attempting to rescue three young children, two 9-year-old girls, and a 7-year-old girl, who had been swept nearly 200 feet from shore due to a riptide at Chance a la Mar beach.

Despite both instances resulting in nobody being hurt and little needed assistance from local authorities, law enforcement wants people to take more safety measures.

“As a reminder, we do not have lifeguards on our beaches and there is no longer a surf rescue team available,” said Chris Iversen, an Ocean Shore Police Department sergeant, on a Facebook post from the police department page. “We just want people to have a little more caution as the ocean can be extremely dangerous if you’re not paying attention.”

Iversen also noted the public is advised to not be swimming in the water near the North Jetty and all actions, such as wading, playing, or even walking close to the water’s edge in the area should be done with extreme caution.

Riptides are very common on the Washington coast and the dangers can be increased given the cold-water temperatures. Riptides form when powerful currents of water are moving away from the shore, and can even sweep away the strongest swimmer from the shore.

Although a common misconception of riptides is that they pull people under the water, swimmers who find themselves in riptides are advised to relax, swim out of the current, and head back to shore.

Advisory and warning signs are up throughout Ocean Shore to educate beachgoers on the dangers of the water and what to do if caught in an emergency while in the ocean.