Coast Guard, National Weather Service urge boaters to practice caution during heavy weather

National Weather Service LogoSAN FRANCISCO – The Coast Guard and the National Weather Service caution members of the public in coastal locations in Northern California to exercise safe and responsible boating practices, and to keep beach safety guidelines in mind as high seas, moderate winds and rain are predicted to impact the San Francisco Bay Area, starting Wednesday and continuing into the weekend.

The swells will be out of the northwest while the winds will be out of the south creating mixed seas which can be especially dangerous.

“Large waves approaching California will produce hazardous conditions in the surf zone as the waves rapidly increase Tuesday night and peak on Wednesday,” said National Weather Service Meteorologist Christine Riley. “Waves of 12 to 15 feet from the northwest will create dangerous surf conditions and strong rip currents. Mariners should exercise caution. Series of larger waves can surprise even the most experienced mariner and beachgoer causing disorientation, injury or even death.”

Please listen to the NOAA Weather Radio or go to http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/mtr for the latest updates. The weather forecast should be checked prior to getting underway.

The Coast Guard reminds people to avoid going near low-lying beach and other coastal areas including jetties and rocky areas during heavy weather. Large waves can quickly and unexpectedly sweep a person from these areas. Even the strongest swimmers can be overtaken by the sea, especially when cold-water temperatures are factored in.

The Coast Guard strongly recommends that individuals avoid taking to the water during storm conditions. If it is necessary to get underway, mariners are urged to check all of their safety equipment to ensure it is in good condition and working properly.

The Coast Guard also encourages all vessel owners and operators to check the status of mooring and anchoring arrangements. The winds are forecast to be out of the south. During strong winds and heavy seas, vessels can break free from moorings, often a result of worn lines, an insufficient numbers of lines, or an improperly sized anchor and/or anchor chain. Adrift vessels pose severe hazards to nearby people and vessels as they are tossed about, 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 forecast storm system by addressing mooring safety and securing potential sources of marine pollution.

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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