Coast Guard: Be careful on Washington, Oregon beaches

WARRENTON, Ore. (AP) - Alarmed by the number of people swept into the ocean during the past two months along the Oregon and Washington coasts, the Coast Guard is warning beachgoers to be aware of possible dangers.

Since July 3, four of those cases have ended in fatalities.

Cmdr. Bill Gibbons is chief of response for Coast Guard Sector Columbia River. He notes that those caught in NW ocean currents are often visitors to the area who don't realize the dangers. Gibbons says in one case, a victim was only in water up to his knees when he was knocked down by a wave and pulled out into the ocean.

The Coast Guard warns that water depths can change rapidly along the coast and rip currents can be strong and unpredictable.

Gibbons says at a minimum, people should never enter the water alone, children should never be allowed near the water unattended and people near the edge of the surf line should be alert for so-called "sneaker waves." Those are large and powerful waves that can appear without warning.