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Prince Edward Island National Park of Canada

Natural Hazards

Rip currents

Rip currents Rip currents
© Parks Canada

Rip currents are powerful, fast-moving seaward currents that can pull even the strongest swimmers out to sea.

Be safe: Know how to swim, never swim alone, and when in doubt, don't go out.

If you become caught in a rip current:

  • Don't fight the current
  • Swim out of the current, then to shore
  • If you can't escape, float or tread water
  • If you need help, call or wave for assistance

Parks Canada and its service providers make every reasonable effort to mark areas that are known to have rip currents; however, there may be other such areas that are not marked.

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Video: Rip Currents - Break The Grip of the Rip
Watch the video in HD on YouTube


Tides Tides
© Parks Canada

Twice daily, the shores of Prince Edward Island National Park become wide, and then narrow again, because of the tides.

Tides are caused by the gravitational attraction of the sun and moon. The size of the tide depends on the shape and location of the shoreline, as well as the positions of the moon and earth.

Tides within Prince Edward Island National Park range from a few centimeters to over two meters. Low tide is the best time of day to explore. But be aware and watch the rising tide along the cliffs to ensure that you can safely return the way you came.


Campfires are only permitted in the fireplaces provided.

Please don't use twigs, leaves, or bark to start your fire. They act as mulch and provide food for plants. Make your own kindling from your firewood, which may be purchased at the campground where fires are permitted. Charcoal barbecues may be used, and cold ashes should be deposited in a fireplace or garbage container.

Please report fires or suspicious smoke to park staff or call 1-877-852-3100.

Fire Weather Index (FWI)

The FWI is posted daily. For your safety, please familiarize yourself with the below and be aware of the following restrictions:

Low: No time restriction
Moderate:No time restriction
High:No fires between 8am and 8pm
Extreme: No fires (including cooking shelters)

Cliff erosion

Cliff erosion Cliff erosion
© Parks Canada

The shoreline of Prince Edward Island National Park is eroding at an average rate of one meter per year. This is a very rapid reduction of land and has created problems for the park, as well as for land owners outside of our boundaries.

The cliffs in Prince Edward Island National Park are made of soft red sandstone, which crumbles easily when waves strike the bedrock. As a result, cliffs are cut back, creating real danger to hikers above and below the cliffs. Don't get too close to the edge!

While erosion can cause problems, the sand created from the cliffs helps create our beautiful beaches. As a result, where some areas are eroding other features are created within the park.

Poison ivy

Poison ivy
Poison ivy
© Parks Canada

Poison ivy is found in certain areas of Prince Edward Island National Park, usually near sand dunes.

This three-leafed green plant can cause a certain amount of discomfort to those who encounter it. Often contact with poison ivy will cause a rash-like appearance to the skin that can become extremely itchy.

When in doubt, always remember the golden rule: "Leaves of three? Let them be."

Coyotes and hiking safety

Parks Canada is working with experts in coyote behaviour, wildlife management, and human behaviour and education to develop and implement best practices for public safety. Visitors to any park or natural area should be aware of the risk of wildlife encounters.

Here's what you can do to improve your personal safety:

Do not feed coyotes and be sure to properly dispose of garbage and other food sources. Coyotes that have access to our food lose their fear of people.

Hike with friends or carry a solid walking stick.

If you see a coyote at a distance:

Stay back. Do not approach the animal.

Watch it carefully to assess its behaviour (e.g. Is the animal following you, acting without fear, openly aggressive, fearful, wary, etc.?)

If the coyote approaches or is close by:

Never run away. (Coyotes are capable of running much faster than humans.)

Maintain your distance by walking away slowly. Do not turn your back.

Stay together and try to scare the animal away.

Make noise, swing sticks, and generally act big and aggressive.

If a coyote attacks:

Fight back. Shout, swing a stick, throw stones, use whatever is available to defend yourself.

Report all coyote sightings to Parks Canada staff. If approached by a coyote, report the incident immediately.

Jellyfish in the Gulf of St. Lawrence

Artic red jellyfish Artic red jellyfish
© Parks Canada

There are two main types of jellyfish that surface in our Prince Edward Island waters: the Arctic Red, or Lion's Mane, Jellyfish and the White Moon Jellyfish. The Arctic Red is larger and more common than the White Moon, which is translucent and lacks the long red tentacles.

The tentacles of the Arctic Red Jellyfish are used to stun their prey (zooplankton) before feeding. These are the same tentacles that may give slight stinging or mild burning sensations when people come in contact with them. There is no need to panic, though; the remedy surrounds you at the ocean's edge! By rubbing wet sand over the irritated area, you can usually alleviate most of the discomfort caused by the sting of an Arctic Red Jellyfish.