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Beach Safety & Rules

beachOur average water temperatures range from the mid-40s to the mid-60s. These temperatures can cause hypothermia.

There are no lifeguards on the beach.

Do not attempt to rescue someone in the ocean. You will likely become a victim yourself. Call 911 and stay there!

Never turn your back on the waves. Sneaker waves are powerful waves that come high up on the beach without warning.

It is highly RECOMMENDED to wear a life jacket when playing near the water's edge.

Be aware of pedestrians, pets, wildlife, seal pups, and debris like large logs.

Keep a close eye on your children.

If you are planning on parking on the beach, make sure you are aware of the tide tables in conjunction with where you park your vehicle. An important point to make is, please make sure you are looking at the tide tables for Ocean Shores and not the Seattle area because they are very different tides. Click here for Ocean Shores tide table 

Dial 911 for emergencies and stay where you are. Do not attempt to rescue yourself.

Be Aware Of The Rip Current

  • There are no lifeguards on the beach.
  • The ocean currents are strong and dangerous no matter the time of tide. You cannot swim against the currents.
  • RECOMMEND wearing a life jacket when playing near the water's edge.
  • A rip current is a narrow, fast-moving channel of water that starts near the beach and extends offshore through the line of breaking waves
  • If you do get caught in a rip current, the best thing you can do is stay calm. It's not going to pull you underwater, it's just going to pull you away from shore
  • Call and wave for help. You want to float, and you don't want to swim back to shore against the rip current because it will just tire you out. You want to swim out of the rip, parallel to the shore, along the beach, and then follow breaking waves back to shore at an angle.

Beach Fires

  • Campfires must be smaller than 3 feet on each side and 3 feet in height.
  • Campfires must be 100 feet west of the dune line. Fires and barbecues are not allowed in the flammable dune grass area.
  • No fires are allowed on any shellfish bed.
  • Do not build a fire if it is windy.
  • Do not throw explosive material, including glass, into the fire.
  • Supervise children closely.
  • Report illegal fires.
  • Pack out your garbage.
  • Drench and bury your fire to extinguish it before you go.

Sand Dunes

  • Do not dig caves in the dunes. Tunnels and caves will collapse and bury you.
  • Be cautious near dune cliffs and vertical dune faces.
  • Assume all cliff edges and rock jetties are unstable.
  • Large portions of rocks are known to break away. Cliffs and rocks are not suitable for climbing.
  • Jetties are susceptible to rising tides.
  • Wear proper footwear and stick to the trails when hiking.


  • Stay away from wildlife, dead or alive. Leave wildlife alone.
  • Stay at least 100 yards away from seal pups so the mother will return.
  • Federal law prohibits touching, feeding, and disturbing marine mammals.
  • Whales (dead or alive) are protected. Dissecting, dismembering, or removing parts can spread disease and is against the law.
  • Intentionally running over seabirds or other animals is against the law.
  • In case of emergency, the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife can be contacted through 911.
  • If you see an injured or distressed marine mammal, call Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife at (360) 532-6237

Sunbathing And Picnics

  • Pack out your garbage.
  • Do not set up a picnic on the hard packed sand where the vehicles drive.
  • Do not set up at the end of a beach approach.
  • Do not bury people in the sand or build a sand castle in a high traffic area.
  • Do not do anything in the main traffic area that you would not do in the street in front of your house.

Driving On The Beach

  • All vehicles on the beach must be registered and insured, anyone driving on the beach must have a valid license, helmet law applies and no driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Driving on the beach is NOT recommended, especially if you have not driven on the beach before. DO SO AT YOUR OWN RISK.
  • 4-wheel drive is STRONGLY recommended.
  • Rules of the road apply – no donuts or reckless driving.
  • The speed limit is 25 MPH.
  • Do not drive in the sand dunes.
  • ATV’s are not allowed on beach approaches or on the beach. Refer to OSMC 10.32.030.
  • Stay ON hard-packed sand.
  • Stay OFF clam beds and soft “sugar” sand.
  • Be aware of tides.
  • Be aware of pedestrians, pets, wildlife, seal pups, and debris like large logs.
  • If you become stuck, expect tow fees to be at least $100.
  • Areas Closed to Vehicles Apr. 15 – Labor Day are south of the Chance Ala Mer entrance and north of Pacific Ave entrance.


For more information regarding Washington State rules visit Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 352-37-060 North Beach

Ocean Shores Garbage Bags are available to purchase during regular business hours, at the following locations:

Convention Center Visitor Information Center;
120 W Chance  a La Mer NW;
Lobby Hours:  10:00 am-2:00 pm Thursday - Tuesday Closed Wednesday

Ocean Shores Police Department
577 Point Brown Ave. NW 
Lobby Hours: 8:00 am-4:00 pm Monday thru Friday
(Cash or Check Only)

Utility Billing
800 Anchor Ave. NW;  
Lobby Hours: 8:30 am – 3:30 pm Monday thru Friday