Coast Guard advises boaters and beachgoers to exercise caution during the storm surge

Pacific Southwest Coast Guard News
ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Coast Guard is anticipating a busy weekend as high winds and heavy seas are expected to hit Northern California this evening and continue into Friday.

A small craft advisory and a gale warning are in effect for parts of the central and northern coast as the potential storm will produce strong southerly winds, endangering mariners and setting vessels adrift.

It is recommended that individuals avoid taking to the water during storm conditions.  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, and check the NOAA area weather site for the latest updates prior to leaving the dock.

Additionally, 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 numbers 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 aboard can spill or leak.  The Coast Guard urges vessel owners and operators to take extra precautions in anticipation of the forecasted storm system by addressing mooring safety and securing potential sources of marine pollution.

Heavy weather can also produce dramatic beach scenes. The public is asked to exercise beach safety and avoid low-lying beaches and other coastal areas including jetties and rocky areas during the storm.  Large waves can quickly and unexpectedly sweep a person from these areas.

Dog owners are also reminded to protect their pets from rough waves and not to attempt to rescue the 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.

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.

USCG Storm Center, www.uscg.mil/news/stormcenter.

NOAA Marine Weather from Fort Bragg to Piedras Blancas, CA, http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/mtr/

USCG Safe Boating, www.uscgboating.org.

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