Coast Guard issues temporary safety zone near Morro Bay Harbor entrance

LOS ANGELES — The Captain of the Port will be enforcing a temporary safety zone due to hazardous weather and sea conditions in the vicinity of the Morro Bay Harbor entrance from midnight, Thursday, tomidnight March, 2, 2017.

A high surf advisory issued by the National Weather Service warns of high surf building from to 12 to 15 feet today and up to 18 feet Saturday. Large waves and rip currents can increase ocean dangers for boaters, swimmers and surfers.

The safety zone will encompass all navigable waters from the surface to the sea floor near the inside and outside of the mouth of the Morro Bay Harbor entrance.

This action is necessary to reduce significant hazards to vessels, the harbor and the public during periods of poor weather conditions. Additionally, Coast Guard will energize the Morro Bay “Rough Bar Warning Light” to signify that rough bar conditions exist at the harbor’s entrance.

No vessel or person is permitted to operate in the temporary safety zone unless authorized by the Captain of the Port or her designated representative. For more information or to request authorization, please contact the Los Angeles-Long Beach command duty officer via VHF radio or at 310-521-3801.

The safety zone will only be enforced when the Captain of the Port or her designated representative deems it necessary because of hazardous bar conditions and enforcement will cease immediately upon conditions returning to safe levels. The general boating public will be notified prior to the enforcement of the temporary safety zone via a broadcast notice to mariners.

Section 1232 of Title 33 U.S. Code (Ports and Waterways Safety Act) provides penalties for all persons in violation of this order:

Any person who is found by the secretary, after notice and an opportunity for a hearing, to have violated this chapter or a regulation issued hereunder shall be liable to the United States for a civil penalty, not to exceed $90,063 for each violation. Each day of a continuing violation shall constitute a separate violation.

The amount of such civil penalty shall be assessed by the secretary or his designee by written notice. In determining the amount of such penalty, the secretary shall take into account the nature, circumstances, extent and gravity of the prohibited acts committed and, with respect to the violator, the degree of culpability and history or prior offenses, ability to pay and such other matters as justice may require.

Willfully and knowingly violating this chapter or any regulation issued hereunder commits a class D felony.

Any vessel subject to the provisions of this chapter, which is used in violation of this chapter, or any regulations issued hereunder, shall be liable in rem for any civil penalty assured pursuant to subsection (a) of this section and may be proceeded against the United States district court for any district in which such vessel may be found.

The Coast Guard encourages mariners to not go out into the water unless absolutely necessary as our response may be delayed or limited during periods of severe weather conditions.

The Coast Guard urges mariners to always:

  • Wear life jackets while on the water.
  • Have a working marine-band radio on board.
  • Carry marine flares on board the vessel.
  • Ensure bilge pumps are operational and vessels are secure for heavy winds and rain.
  • Stay Informed – The public should remain aware of forecasted weather conditions and monitor progress through local television, radio and internet. Check the current and expected weather and water conditions before heading out, and be aware that weather conditions can quickly change.
  • File a float plan with friends, family members and local marinas before heading out. The list should include the number of passengers aboard the vessel, vessel’s destination and expected time of return.

For more information on boating safety, visit www.uscgboating.org.

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