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Beach Safety

The beaches of Ocean Shores are some of the most beautiful and possibly dangerous in the world. The public has access to the beach 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Sunbathers, waders and kite flyers share the beach with horses, automobiles and mopeds. The ocean beaches are here for everyone to enjoy and we hope that your activities can be guided by common sense. Unfortunately, common sense sometimes escapes some of us and this is why regulations are necessary to remind us. Below you will find some safety tips and laws that can help make a visit to Ocean Shores more pleasurable and safe for everyone.


The beach is a state highway and all of the rules of the road apply. You need to read and obey all posted signs on beach approaches.

Here is a list of some of the laws that you will need to be aware of so as not to find yourself in trouble with us.

  • All vehicles must be licensed and street legal.
  • All drivers must have a valid driverís license.
  • You must drive on the uppermost hard-packed sand and not in the sand dunes or near the surf.
  • The beach speed limit is 25 mph but may have to be slower if conditions are poor or it endangers others.
  • You can not do "donuts" or circling on the beach.
  • All persons on motorcycles or mopeds are required to wear a helmet.
  • Do not drive in posted closed areas.
  • Do not drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

This in no way represents a complete list of all of the beach driving regulations, but rather is just a few of the more frequently violated ones.


Fires are allowed on the beach but they can not be in or near the dunes. Fires are also not allowed in the larger pieces of driftwood. The dune grass can burn quite easily so please watch for any drifting embers and extinguish your fire before leaving.




The beach is blessed with wonderful wildlife including baby seals. These newborn pups are placed up on the shore by their mothers, who then return to the sea to feed, sometimes for several days, before returning. If a seal pup is moved or touched by humans their mothers will not take them back and they are left to die. It is a federal offense to touch or annoy seals. Please do not touch them. If the seal appears in distress notify the police department.

Razor clams can be found on our beaches. They can only be dug during clam season. This season is generally very short and is publicized in the newspapers. Digging for clams requires a license for any adult and there is a first fifteen limit. Additionally, vehicles are prohibited from driving on the clam beds.

Numerous shore birds can be found on the beaches. Please drive carefully around them and be sure to take any garbage with you when you leave the beach. Birds can easily become entangled in plastic beverage carrier rings and suffocate.


The ocean water can be very beautiful but it can also be very deadly. The Washington coast has some of the roughest surf and strongest currents in the world. The surf often deposits large logs on the shore. These logs will roll when a wave hits them, so please keep a safe distance away. Do not walk or climb on these logs because you might become trapped beneath it if it should roll.

Rip currents can be especially hazardous on our beaches. Rip currents are caused by outgoing water flowing from the beach created by sand canal buildups. These rips are very strong and will carry you straight out to sea. Unlike undertow, the currents do not pull you under but rather drag you out to sea. The "rip" may go out a short distance or it could go out several hundred yards. If you should happen to become caught in a "rip", swim parallel to the beach until you are out of the current, then swim back to shore. Not all areas of the beach are subject to rip currents so it is always best to be careful when entering the water. If while standing in the water you feel a strong tug on your legs going out to sea move down the beach to an area where the tug is not felt. If you notice someone having difficulty in the surf call 911 immediately.

Trying to rescue a person in a rip current generally results in you being caught in it also.

The ocean is very cold and hypothermia is always possible after long exposure to the water. Hypothermia is a condition in which the body loses heat faster than it can produce it. This causes a dangerous reduction of the bodyís inner temperature. The body temperature cools quickly with exposure in the water causing exhaustion and possibly unconsciousness. The temperature in the water generally is in the low 50ís. At this temperature, exposure of 30-45 minutes can cause hypothermia. Try to avoid long periods in the surf unless you are wearing "wetsuits" or the like.

Jelly fish and even sharks have been known to be in our ocean waters. Please be careful while in the water. We encourage you to always swim with a companion. We also encourage you to only go into the water about waist deep for your own safety.


If you have small children, always keep a close watch on them at the beach. It doesnít take long for them to walk away or get lost. Children can walk out in front of cars or wander off into the water, both of which can produce tragic results.

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