The Lifesaving program provides lifeguard coverage for the main beach areas associated with the City of Cannon Beach. The lifeguards provide a myriad of emergency and non-emergency services that are essential to maintaining safe and desirable recreational areas associated with the ocean shore. Lifeguards are on the beach daily from 11:00 am to 7:15 pm Mid-June through Labor Day. In May and September, they operate on weekends only, weather permitting.
The Lifesaving Program provides reactive interventions (emergency response to swimmers, surfers, etc., experiencing immediate distress) and proactive interventions (discouraging high risk behaviors on the beach and in the water). Members of the Lifeguard Team conduct beach safety patrols, assist the Police with general beach supervision, assist with beach code enforcement, report misconduct occurring on and around our beaches, and deter Marine Garden Violations at and around Haystack Rock.
Preventing Aquatic Emergencies
- Be careful and alert on the beach. Those beautiful waves can be dangerous! Sudden wave surges, or "sneaker waves" wash ashore with enough power to knock a person down and drag them out to sea.
- Never play on driftwood. Large logs and other driftwood can be moved around by waves or your own body weight. You could be injured.
- Check for surf conditions. The lifeguard tower is located on shore from Haystack Rock. Please check with lifeguards on duty before entering the surf.
- Safety conditions are unpredictable and may suddenly change according to currents, tides, beach location, waves, weather and other factors (even wading could be dangerous). For this reason, RED FLAGS indicating hazardous conditions are posted at the semaphores signal posts located at intervals from Silverpoint to Chapman Point from mid-June through Labor Day weekend.
- Never swim alone. Swim in a well supervised area, away from heavy surf or currents. If no lifeguards are on duty, be sure people on shore know you are in the water and can see you.
- Do not use inflatable equipment in the surf. Inflatables are easily punctured and overturned. They can drift out to sea in currents.
- The ocean along the Oregon coast rarely gets warmer than 55 degrees. With water this cold, its best to limit your time in the water.
- A good rule of thumb is to stay in water between knee and waist deep. Make allowances for wave size, tides, and bottom troughs or "crab holes".
- Remember, you can prevent aquatic emergencies with a thorough knowledge of swimming and water safety skills. Enroll in a certified Red Cross, YWMA or YMCA aquatics class. Be a confident and knowledgeable swimmer.
Helping Lifeguards During an Emergency
- Call for help only if you really need it. Faking a distress situation is dangerous. It distracts lifeguards from patrolling for actual emergencies.
- Semaphores are for your safety and are used to contact the lifeguard. If you see a dangerous situation, take the following actions:
- Locate the nearest semaphore
- Loosen the rope to the signal arm
- When the lifeguard arrives, tell him or her the location and type of emergency
- Don't swim in or near rip currents. Lifeguards will tell you how to recognize these dangerous currents and how to combat them.
- If you find yourself unable to swim out of a rip current, call out to people on the shore. Tell them to contact a lifeguard.
- Above all, do not panic in a rip current. Relax, swim with the current and parallel to the shoreline. Eventually you should pop out of the current and be able to ride the waves to the beach.
- Respect the judgment and experience of the trained lifeguards. Follow their advice and do not interfere with the performance of their responsibilities.