I ordinarily try to avoid ranting in public. It generally does no good and can be enormously unattractive. But some things just call for a response.
I have been seeing a lot of warnings on social media and in various publications, about the BIG waves – 40 feet – that we are going to see on the coast this week. I’ve seen weather reports, newspaper articles, and warnings from the Coast Guard about the hazards of being on the beach over the next few days.
And then, AND THEN (you can hear the rant coming) I see an article from The Oregonian, THE OREGONIAN, of all things, one of the biggest publications in the state, telling people where they can go to watch waves because they’ll be really big and it’ll be really cool. And here’s a list of place where you can see the waves close up. What? WHAT? I know Portland is insulated from life on the coast, but really?
I shared a post from the US Coast Guard this weekend on Facebook where they were literally BEGGING people to stay off beaches during this storm. It’s rare to see a Coast Guard press release with the words “please, please” in it; the USCG tends to be a bit dry in their communiques. But they thought it was important enough to beg.
In matters of public safety my opinions are anything but humble, so here it is: it was terribly irresponsible of the Oregonian to invite droves of people to come the the beach and die this week. But that’s what they did. I read the article. They mentioned a few cliff top spots. But some are just beach spots right at sea level. Not, not, a good idea this week. The thrill is momentary, the risk is high, and the grief for your loved ones could be huge. And many resources involving risk to other people will be deployed to try and find you when you’re already dead.
So, dear Ship Report listeners, and you are dear to me or I would not bother to post this rant: if you decide to go to the beach this week, go somewhere high: we have some great spots to wave watch that are high up: the Cape Disappointment visitor center at the park in Ilwaco, the cliffs in Cannon Beach, Ecola State Park. I’m sure there are many more. The point is – get some altitude above the waves so you can enjoy them. I don’t want to hear about anyone being swept away by a giant sneaker wave they didn’t see coming. But that’s why they call them sneakers, because they rise up out of nowhere, and they will be happening this week. A sneaker wave with a big log in it is a certain death wave.
I don’t presume to tell anyone how to live their life. I know some people will go to the beach, do stupid things and live. Lord knows I’ve done a lot of dumb things in my life and survived. But some may not. And when that happens, we will all say (too late) “they should have known better.”
So I just want to add my voice to those who are saying: if you go, stay up high on the cliffs, be careful, be mindful, don’t turn your back on the ocean. You know what I’m saying. Now it’s time to listen.
It may be selfish of me, but I don’t want to see your life snuffed out. I want you to be here so you can keep listening to The Ship Report. That’s all, Be careful out there. Thanks.