We have one of the most gorgeous coastlines in the world. Our Monterey Bay is home to spectacular sea life and unsurpassed beauty. However, our rugged coastline can be dangerous to those unfamiliar with the power of the Pacific Ocean, so here are a few tips to keep our visitors safe from rogue waves.
Several people have climbed out onto the rocks of Lover’s Point and have been swept off those rocks by rogue waves. The same can be said for visitors who get too close to the the waterline at Monastery Beach, nicknamed Mortuary Beach due to its dangerous riptides.
To keep yourself safe and away from harm, follow these general guidelines:
1. Never turn your back to the ocean.
2. Make sure you watch the wave patterns before venturing into the water. If the water is calm and there is plenty of flat beach, chances are you can wade in the water without any issues. If, however, the water is rough and/or you see big waves crash ashore, that’s Mother Nature’s signal to stay clear, because she’s far more powerful than you. Also, if no one else is in the water nearby, there’s probably a good reason why.
3. If you are at Monastery Beach, in particular, stay several yards away from the wave break portion of the beach. Most visitors are unaware that they are at the foot of an enormous underwater canyon and when waves crash onshore, there is a steep precipice that can literally sweep you off your feet and out into the deep water. DO NOT go for a swim or get close to shore at Monastery Beach…and if you’re a scuba diver, exercise EXTREME caution.
4. If you are swept out in a riptide, swim along parallel to shore until you feel the current subside, and then swim into shore. Riptides are swift currents running perpendicular away from shore, and if you try to swim into the riptide going back toward shore, you’ll get tired very quickly. So, if you’re swept out, remain calm, swim along side the shore until you feel you are safely out of the rip current, then swim back toward shore. If you get tired, float and rest until you can start swimming again.
5. If you are at the beach and see someone get swept out to sea, dial 911 and alert the rescue teams of your exact location. The Fire Department, Coast Guard, and Parks Service are all trained in water rescue, so act quickly if you see a distressed swimmer.
Water safety is a life skill, and we hope you find these tips useful. These guidelines are not intended to scare you away from enjoying the water. Instead, these guidelines are meant to help keep you safe when visiting our beautiful and powerful Pacific Ocean.