Spring break is here, but the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department warns that winter still lingers along the Oregon coast.

"March can be a very dangerous month on the coast for the unwary," said OPRD Beach Safety Education Coordinator Robert Smith. "The combination of logs, powerful waves and visitors can create some dangerous situations. The Oregon coast is a place where you must use common sense, especially at this time of year."

Visitors to the coast will increase during the next couple weeks as schools throughout the Pacific Northwest take spring vacation breaks. Spring break for the Oregon public school and university systems is March 24-28.

Smith listed several safety tips to keep in mind when visiting an ocean beach:

• Keep one eye on the ocean. "That way you aren't surprised by bigger waves surging high on the beach," he said. "'Sneaker waves' are unpredictable and very powerful. They come out of nowhere and can be deadly."

• Stay away from logs on the wet sand or in the surf. "These logs can weigh several tons and can be moved by only a few inches of water. The ocean is strong enough to pick up even the biggest log and roll it over you."

• Know when the tide is coming in. "Nothing ruins a day of tide pooling quicker than being stranded by the incoming tide. Get a tide table from a state park ranger or many businesses along the coast."

• Be careful on cliffs and rocks. "The power of the ocean can erode cliffsides, making hem unstable. Stay on marked trails and don't climb over fences, which are there for your safety. Don't dig into oceanside cliffs or hillsides."


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