State park officials stress education while recreating in-and-around North Coast water

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TRINIDAD, Calif. (KIEM)-There were 26 water rescues and about 2,000 safety contacts last year alone in Humboldt and Del Norte counties.

 When it comes to water safety in and around beaches, rivers and lagoons on the North Coast, it’s all about education.

“The number one attraction in this area particularly is the water,” said Patrick’s Point State Park’s Supervising Ranger Keven Harder.

According to Harder the number one thing to do, for both tourists and locals, is a little homework before venturing out into nature.

“Depending on what you’re wanting to do recreation wise you should do some research and figure out which area would be best for you.”

The north coast has a diverse landscape.

“Some of our beaches are steep beaches which are fairly dangerous to be around, others are little flatter,” said Harder.

Permanent lifeguard for California State Parks Dillon Cleavenger says never turn your back on the ocean and always respect Mother Nature.

“Nobody fully understands what’s going on out there, it’s just a complicated environment,” he said.

“Definitely having an idea of the type of activity you want to do, then having the knowledge in mind before hand of how to do that safely is crucial.”

According to state park officials the beach beside Big Lagoon is one of the most dangerous beaches on the North Coast and it’s because of Agates.

For unsuspecting beach combers, while focused on finding the pretty stones, a wave can sneak up and sweep them into the ocean.

“You could be literally be ankle deep one minute then a sneaker wave might hit could be overhead deep,” Harder said. “Anytime with kids, around the ocean make sure life jackets are involved.”

Cleavenger says it’s all about preparation, no matter what activity is planned for the day.

“Everything you do out there weather you’re kayaking, surfing, swimming, fishing make sure you’re wearing all the proper gear.”

And for recreational anglers, Cleavenger says let someone know your destination, the expected route and return time, always check the surf and never go out on the water alone.

He adds that a “very high frequency” is good to have in case of emergency while out on the ocean, VHF radios allows direct contact with the coast guard.

Harder says those who have questions on how to recreate safely or how to prepare for an outdoor excursion can call them directly at Call 707-677-3570.