Coast Guard conducts surf training in San Francisco

Coast Guard Station Golden Gate crewmembers conduct surf training aboard two 47-foot motor lifeboats off the Ocean Beach area of San Francisco Nov. 10, 2016. The training allows crews to hone their heavy-weather rescue skills. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Cory J. Mendenhall.

Coast Guard Station Golden Gate crewmembers conduct surf training aboard two 47-foot motor lifeboats off the Ocean Beach area of San Francisco Nov. 10, 2016.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Cory J. Mendenhall.

SAN FRANCISCO — The Coast Guard conducted surf training in San Francisco Thursday in an effort to maintain crew proficiency in boat handling during heavy sea conditions.

“The heavy weather experienced along Sonoma, Marin, San Mateo and San Francisco counties provide excellent training grounds to maintain proficiency in operating in surf and heavy weather conditions,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Robert Paulino, the operations petty officer for Coast Guard Station Golden Gate. “This type of training is essential to preparing for rescues that often occur in the worst of conditions.”

Coast Guard Station Golden Gate is one of only two surf stations within the San Francisco Bay area, meaning that the unit experiences surf over eight feet more than 36 days a year.

The station operates three 47-foot Motor Life Boats, which are designed to operate in surf, or breaking waves, of up to 20 feet, up to 30-foot seas and 60 mph winds. The unit’s primary mission is surf and heavy weather search and rescue, but it is designed to support multi-mission operations. In addition, the MLB has self-righting capabilities so that if the boat were overturned in heavy seas or surf, it would re-right within 8 to 12 seconds and remain mechanically intact.

“We encourage mariners to check the maritime forecast and San Francisco bar conditions on the National Weather Service’s site prior to going out,” said Paulino. “Our crews have already experienced large breaking waves at the entrance of the San Francisco Bay creating dangerous boating activities.”

Approximately 50 people man the station, which covers a variety of missions to include search and rescue, homeland security, maritime law enforcement, marine environmental protection and boating safety, averaging about 350 search and rescue cases per year.

The station’s area of responsibility extends approximately 58 miles offshore from Point Reyes to Point Ano Nuevo including the Farallon Islands and inside the bay from Bluff Point to Pier 39.

Photos from the training can be viewed at our Flickr page.

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