CANNON BEACH, Ore. (KOIN) — It’s summer. It’s extremely hot. Pandemic restrictions have loosened. And people are expected to flock to the Oregon coast.

The tourism and hospitality industry is anticipating crowds and, honestly, they’re excited to welcome people back. Hotels are prepared to handle the increased occupancy.

Diana Steinman, the Director of Operations of VIP Hospitality, said their hotels in Lincoln City and Newport (including the Coho Oceanfront Lodge) are completely booked this weekend and they’re doing record-setting numbers.

“With school being out, we have, you know, 4th of July, with just the increase in travel demand with people not being able to for so long,” Steinman said. “We’re definitely gearing up for a very busy summer season.”

If you want to take a water tour or rent gear to explore, the Safari Town Surf Shop said they’re pretty booked this weekend, too.

“We’re thinking it’s going to be a pretty busy summer from the way things are going,” owner Tony Gile said. “We’re trying to do more stuff that is more unique to this area and we can serve more visitors and doing more outdoor activities.”

Traffic and safety

But with all the people comes gridlocked traffic and safety issues.

First responders in Lincoln City want people to keep safety at the top of their mind. They’ve already had a water rescue recently.

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Beach fires are a concern and officials remind everyone to not light them in driftwood areas.

Water activities are also a concern. The water is still cold plus sneaker waves and rip currents take people by surprise.

Rip currents, said Lincoln City Fire Chief Rob Dahlman, are strongest and fastest nearest to the water’s surface.

“People get caught on the top of that and it pulls them out. It’s very strong current. You can’t get back in, so you have to swim parallel to that and come in around it. and it doesn’t matter who you are,” he said. “I mean, you can be the strongest swimmer in the world, and you will not make it in.”

Dahlman said most times when a water rescue is needed alcohol is involved. Be mindful of that while out drinking with friends and family on the water.

If you’re taking a boat out, leave a float plan — in other words, tell a family member of friend where you plan to go and when you plan to be home and leave a description of the boat. Another helpful tip is to buy a Marine GPS and a Marine Radio as cell phones do not work well out on the ocean.

Plus, remember to always wear your life jacket!

While there are some lifeguards at Cannon Beach on the weekends there aren’t lifeguards on the beach at Lincoln City or most other cities on the coast. However, we did hear from Jesse Parker, the head lifeguard
at Cannon Beach.

Parker says to always come prepared. Bring essentials like water and sports drink, a towel and sunscreen that is at least SPF 30+. Remember to not swim near structures, like rock formations, jetties, or piers — because this is where rip currents often form. Be sure to check the weather forecast and check tide levels and times.

Lifeguards are recommending people wear a wetsuit, especially if they plan on going beyond thigh-waist deep. The average water temperatures has been in the low 50s. Parker says they recommend limiting your time in the water to 30 minutes before coming out to warm up.

Above all, Parker said, respect the ocean.

There are numbered signs at beach access points, so if you need to call 911 you can refer them to a specific area to come to help.

Dahlman said most times when a water rescue is needed alcohol is involved. Be mindful of that while out drinking with friends and family on the water.

Interactive NWS Alert

On top of water safety, people do need to mindful of the heat — even at the coast. An Excessive Heat Warning is in effect for various areas of the state, including the coast range of Northwest Oregon and the central coast range of Western Oregon.

The heat warning is in effect from 10 a.m. Saturday through 11 p.m. Monday.