Beach Hazards

People watching and photographing ocean waves crashing on a high cliff with a lighthouse on it

We want you to stay safe at the beach!

Washington's coastal state parks are gems -- full of beauty and wonders to discover. They are also dynamic environments that come with their share of danger. Calm ocean waters may be deceptive! 

ALWAYS follow posted rules and know your limits. Visit the links below to learn how you can stay safe be prepared for potential hazards when visiting coastal parks.


Cold water is one of the number one risks you can face at the beach. Even if you do not plan to get in the water, be prepared in case of becoming an accidental swimmer. Just minutes in Washington's freezing water temperatures can be deadly. Learn more about cold water safety from the Washington State Parks Boating Program.

Rip Current

Also known as rip tides, these ocean currents are fast and strong. They can quickly put a swimmer in danger. Learn more about this potential beach hazard from the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Tsunami Evacuation

Do you know what to do if you are camping or playing on the coast and a tsunami is headed your way? Learn all about this rare but significant beach hazard, and how to get to safety from the Washington Department of Natural Resources.

Sneaker Waves

A simple walk on the beach is lots of fun. But it can come with it's own share of hazards. One of those is sneaker waves -- a torrent of ocean water that can appear out of nowhere. Check out this NOAA video and learn more about this common beach hazard.