Coast Guard advises boaters and beachgoers to exercise caution


April 8, 2013


ALAMEDA, Calif. — The Coast Guard is urging mariners and beachgoers to exercise extreme caution when venturing out or near the water due to high winds and heavy seas impacting the northern and central coastline of California this evening and continuing into Tuesday evening.

A small craft advisory and a gale warning are in effect for much of the coast as the strong winds produce big waves and dangerous rip currents, endangering beachgoers and mariners and setting vessels adrift.

The heavy seas often produce dramatic beach scenes. Beachgoers need to remain vigilant and never turn their back to the ocean. Large waves, combined with strong rip currents, can knock adults off their feet and pull them out to sea. Beachgoers are reminded to avoid low-lying areas and to stay off the jetties.

Dog owners are also reminded to protect their pets from rough waves and not to attempt to rescue their dog from a surf zone. It is important to remember to keep calm and allow the dog to swim out on his or her own. Dogs tend to be stronger swimmers than people.

Additionally, it is recommended that individuals avoid taking to the water during this time. If it is necessary to get underway, mariners are urged to check all their safety equipment to ensure it is in good condition and working properly. This includes a properly fitted flotation device for everyone aboard, navigation lights, and distress signals. 

Boaters are strongly encouraged to have a VHF marine radio to monitor weather conditions and communicate with other mariners, emergency position indicator radio beacon and digital selective calling that allows the Coast Guard to know the position of vessel. For more information on boat safety visit http://www.uscgboating.org.

The Coast Guard is encouraging all vessel owners and operators to check the status of mooring and anchoring arrangements. Vessels that are not properly secured during a storm can break free from moorings, often a result of worn lines, an insufficient number of lines, or an improperly sized anchor or anchor chain. It is a good idea to double up vessel mooring lines during strong winds and heavy seas. Vessels that become adrift pose severe hazards to nearby people and vessels, and can also pose environmental risks as any fluids or chemicals onboard can spill or leak.

Most importantly, if there are any signs of distress, never hesitate to contact emergency crews for help. Dial 911 at the first signs of distress, and the Coast Guard is always standing by on marine channel 16.

For latest updates on the weather click the following links:

http://www.uscg.mil/news/stormcenter/

http://alerts.weather.gov/cap/ca.php?x=1

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