Did you know??? 4 inches of water can lift a 5 ton log.
Stay clear of the
large logs that roll in the surf and up onto the beach!
What to do if you see someone drowning
Fishing Safely from the Rocks
Ocean & Bay Water Testing Program
Seals on the Beach
Too Much Sun
Fins in the Ocean!
Dogs Safety at the Beach
Bonfires at Muir Beach
Just for Kids!
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- Call 9-1-1 immediately.
- If the victim is within throwing distance, throw a floatable object to them. It can be a life jacket, kick board or even an empty gallon jug.
- If the victim is within reaching distance, assist him by extending something long, such as a rope, pole, ring bowie or a tree branch.
If you must enter the water to assist someone, take a flotation device large
enough to carry two adults safety, says Jeff Ellis and Associates (International
Aquatic Safety & Risk management Consultants). Keep the device between you
and the person in distress; even a child can put an adult at risk in deep
National Safety Council
Beach Safety Tips: rip currents, logs, tides,
when and where rip currents form, why they're dangerous. How to identify,
avoid & survive rip current, rip current myths
National Weather Service
Rip Current Science
Coastal scientists have been investigating rip currents for more than 75 years. This research has been conducted through field observations and measurements, laboratory measurements and wave tank experiments, and computer and numerical modeling. The mechanics of rip current development are complex and involve interactions between waves and currents, waves and water levels, waves and the shape of the nearshore bottom (bathymetry), as well as wave-wave interaction.
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Read more: www.ripcurrents.noaa.gov/science.shtml
A sneaker wave is an unexpectedly large wave, higher, stronger and reaching farther up the beach to levels far beyond where the normal waves reach. Beach goers, particularly children, can quickly be caught in the rip current and pulled out to deep water. If the person can not escape the current, he may drown. Sneaker waves can also toss around large driftwood logs that may fall on a person, injuring or even killing him.
Even though the ocean may appear calm, there is still the potential for sneaker waves. Larger waves, moving fast, pick up smaller waves and carry them toward the beach. Some people erroneously think that sneaker waves can be predicted, i.e., every fourth or fifth wave, but in truth they are unpredictable. They can occur at any time, day or night, during incoming and outgoing tides, during storms and during sunny calm weather.
How to avoid sneaker waves
Never turn your back on the surf
Stay at least thirty yards away from the water on beaches facing the open ocean. Watch out for sneaker waves. Sneaker waves are often preceded by a lower than sudden lowering of the water level. Supervise children at all times.
Avoid slippery rocks
Rock outcrops can be slippery from mist, rain, or spray. Large waves can knock people off rock outcrops and severely injure them or knock them unconscious. Stay away from rocky areas, particularly during storms, high tide, or tidal changes.
Avoid logs and
Sneaker waves are strong enough to take the biggest log and toss it on you. Stay away from logs in surf or wet sand. Do not sit or stand on logs. Keep children away from logs and large debris.
National Park Service (Point Reyes National Seashore)
Read more: http://www.nps.gov/pore/planyourvisit/beaches.htm#CP_JUMP_273331
boasts over 1,100 miles of coastline and with it, some of the world's richest
tidal life. Cold, nutrient-rich waters and rocky shorelines provide the perfect
habitat for hundreds of species of plants, from microscopic diatoms to huge
seaweeds. The plants in turn, support a multitude of wildlife normally hidden
beneath the waves. At first glance, the wave-swept rocks may seem void of
life, but the rocky pools exposed only at the lowest tides contain a rich
stew of plants and animals plastered so thickly together that very little of
the rocks show. An amazing feat considering the harshness of this wave-battered
California Department of Fish & Game
Read more: http://science.kqed.org/quest/2011/12/05/tidepooling-trip-planner/
Where to go tidepooling in the Bay Area
Rock fishing safety tips
- Learn how to swim for your survival.
- Check the swell, weather and tide forecast.
- Ensure you have warm clothing, even if it is fine as weather can change quickly.
- Wear lace-up shoes - never wear gumboots.
- Wear a buoyancy aid such as an inflatable lifejacket.
- Tell someone where you are going and when you will return. Take a cellphone where possible.
- Fish with experienced people and never fish alone.
- Always ask the advice of lifeguards and locals before going fishing.
- Do not fish under the influence of drugs or alcohol at any time.
- Follow the advice of safety signs.
- Don’t trust existing ropes or cables attached to the rocks.
- Watch the ocean and waves for 10 minutes before moving onto a rock platform.
- Never turn your back on the ocean. Be prepared to quickly climb to safety.
- Have an escape route for large waves and an incoming tide.
- Maintain a safe distance from the water especially when there is swell.
- Avoid surf spray or wet rocks that have been swept by spray.
- If a fish or equipment is swept into a dangerous area or the ocean, leave it there
If in doubt about the conditions or your own ability find a safer location.
There is almost always a swell with set waves. Set waves are groups of larger waves that arrive less frequently than others. Most people swept of rocks are taken by set waves.
When you check the swell forecast and tides, be cautious where swell is rising on an incoming tide. Rock fishing is not advised during these times and you could be cut-off from an escape route. Many popular fishing spots are submerged at high tide so always try new locations on an outgoing tide. Carry a length of rope, first aid kit, flashlight and a handheld flare. Have an emergency plan and know how to contact help. Learn the first aid for hypothermia and injuries such as concussion, cuts, sprains, dislocation and fractures.
Marin County Environmental Health Services (EHS) monitors ocean, bay and freshwater sites in Marin County weekly from April 1 through October 31 to determine if a beach meets the California water quality standards for recreational water contact. EHS works cooperatively with other agencies to collect water samples and post advisory signage as needed at the designated sampling sites.
Should the State water standards be exceeded at any time, a warning sign is posted to alert the public that the bacterial standards were not met. The California Department of Public Health advises beach users to avoid contact with the recreational waters where warning signs are posted. People in contact with the elevated bacteria levels in recreational waters may become ill.
Get water testing reports here:
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 its mother will not take it back and the baby is 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 WildCare in San Rafael at 415-456-SAVE (7283).
What is a Harbor Seal haul-out?
Harbor seals use specific shoreline areas on a regular basis to haul-out of the water and rest. These resting areas are called seal haul-outs and include: beaches, rocky areas, log booms and floats. Some haul-outs are used regularly, while others may be used seasonally or occasionally. Time spent on the haul-out is essential for their survival as they rest, dry out, interact and regulate body their temperature. In addition to resting, Harbor seals give birth to and nurse their pups on the haul-out, and undergo an annual molt of their pelage or fur.
Viewing Seals Responsibly In the Wild
- If you see a seal on the beach, give it room
- Use binoculars or a spotting scope if you want to see the animal "close
- The NMFS marine mammal viewing guidelines mandate a minimum approach distance
of 100 yards.
- The approach distance will reduce the potential for disturbing or stressing
a resting or injured animal.
- Keep pets away. Baby seals can easily fall prey to dogs.
- To avoid possible injury to seals, dogs should be leashed and kept away
from seals on the beach. Some diseases are common to both dogs and seals.
- Older seals may bite in self defense.
- People may also be at risk if they come into direct contact with a diseased
- It is a Federal offense to harass seals in any way.
Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife: WildWatch Cams
Read more and watch the SealCam: http://wdfw.wa.gov/wildwatch/sealcam/index.html
You Found an Ill, Injured or Orphaned Animal—Now What?
If the animal you have found is a bat, raccoon, skunk, fox or coyote, do not handle the animal with bare hands. Because these animals are rabies-vector species, they MUST be handled with gloves or towels!
Temporary Care Instructions for All Animals:
- Do not give the animal any food or water.
- Keep the animal warm. (Place birds in a tissue-filled shoebox or other small box and larger animals in a larger box with a towel. Make sure the box has holes in the lid.
- Keep the animal in a dark, quiet place.
- Leave the animal alone; don’t handle or bother it.
- Keep children and pets away.
- Call WildCare at 415-456-SAVE (7283).
- Protect your skin: Sunlight contains two kinds of UV rays -- UVA increases the risk of skin cancer, skin aging, and other skin diseases. UVB causes sunburn and can lead to skin cancer. Limit the amount of direct sunlight you receive between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. and wear a sunscreen with a sun protection factor containing a high rating such as 15.
- Drink plenty of water regularly and often even if you do not feel thirsty. Your body needs water to keep cool. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them. They can make you feel good briefly but make the heat's effects on your body worse. This is especially true with beer, which dehydrates the body.
- Watch for signs of heat stroke: Heat stroke is life-threatening. The victim's temperature control system, which produces sweating to cool the body, stops working. The body temperature can rise so high that brain damage and death may result if the body is not cooled quickly. Signals include hot, red, and dry skin; changes in consciousness, rapid, weak pulse, and rapid, shallow breathing. Call 9-1-1 or your local EMS number. Move the person to a cooler place. Quickly cool the body by wrapping wet sheets around the body and fan it. If you have ice packs or cold packs, place them on each of the victim's wrists and ankles, in the armpits and on the neck to cool the large blood vessels. Watch for signals of breathing problems and make sure the airway is clear. Keep the person lying down.
- Wear eye protection: Sunglasses are like sunscreen for your eyes and protect against damage that can occur from UV rays. Be sure to wear sunglasses with labels that indicate that they absorb at least 90 percent of UV sunlight.
- Wear foot protection: Many times, people's feet can get burned from the sand or cut from glass in the sand.
Naval Safety Center
Hypothermia occurs when your body's control mechanisms fail to maintain
a normal body temperature. Signs and symptoms that may develop include gradual
loss of mental and physical abilities. Severe hypothermia can lead to death.
Read more: www.mayoclinic.com/health/hypothermia/DS00333
Sharks are unpredictable, and any time you are in waist-deep ocean waters you
are in shark country. Sharks rarely attack people, but a few simple precautions
can help you reduce the already slight risk.
National Parks Conservation Association
Tsunamis are ocean waves produced by earthquakes or underwater landslides.
The word is Japanese and means "harbor wave," because of the devastating
effects these waves have had on low-lying Japanese coastal communities. Tsunamis
are often incorrectly referred to as tidal waves, but a tsunami is actually
a series of waves that can travel at speeds averaging 450 (and up to 600) miles
per hour in the open ocean. In the open ocean, tsunamis would not be felt by
ships because the wavelength would be hundreds of miles long, with an amplitude
of only a few feet. This would also make them unnoticeable from the air. As
the waves approach the coast, their speed decreases and their amplitude increases.
Unusual wave heights have been known to be over 100 feet high. However, waves
that are 10 to 20 feet high can be very destructive and cause many deaths or
American Red Cross
Download the information (PDF)
The Marin coast could be struck by a tsunami. Whether you live in Marin County, visit the beaches, or rent or own a home near the coast, it is vital to understand the tsunami threat and take preparation seriously. MARIN TSUNAMI tells the story of what several West Marin communities are doing to be prepared. This video was produced by Marin County Office of Emergency Services and the US Geological Survey to help people prepare for a tsunami emergency.
Each year when the weather heats up, it's time to head for beach. But if you bring your dog along, you'll need to be mindful of a few things.
- Be sure to have plenty of fresh water available for your pet to drink.
- Don't let him drink sea water, which can make him sick.
- Arrange for a shady, protected place for your dog to rest after a romp in the sun.
- Use sunscreen on exposed areas, like his nose and ears.
- Don't throw sticks or Frisbees far out into the water and expect your dog to retrieve them. The surf is strong, treacherous, and unpredictable, capable of carrying your pet out to sea before you know it, so play on the sand and not in the water.
When the sun comes out, your pet's skin
needs special protection. If your pet's nose has more pink areas than black,
it's especially susceptible to burning, and, over the long term, even skin
cancer. Light pets and pets with short, cropped fur are also at risk. The
answer: frequently apply a waterproof, non-toxic sunscreen with a maximum
SPF of 15 to exposed areas on your pet. Make sure to rub it in. Even if he
or she licks it off, some will have already penetrated to protect your dog
from the sun's harmful rays.
Read more about keeping your pets safe:
You can enjoy a bonfire at Muir Beach, but strict rules apply. Fires are only allowed in the three fire rings and grills near the south end of the parking lot, and only during the day.
For more details call (415) 388-2595
Yes, beach safety is serious. For some kids, though, games are the best
way to get the message through. Each game on this website is an Adobe
Acrobat file you can view and print, then hand off to your favorite kid.
Kids can learn about tidepool safety, tides & animals
through games, puzzels etc. Make up a Scavenger Hunt for big and little kids, or download and print a ready-made one to get you started.
Beach Scavenger Hunt (PDF)
Exploring tidepools with kids at Point Reyes National Seashore