Coast Guard reminds mariners to prepare, exercise caution in high surf

HONOLULU — The U.S. Coast Guard warns boaters and beach goers to exercise caution in all Hawaiian waters for the next few days due to potentially high winds and coastal area flooding.

The Coast Guard reminds all who work and play in island waters that conditions may be more dangerous during potentially high surf conditions.

In addition, marinas and boaters are reminded to check that boats in port are properly secured, bilge pumps are functional, and all loose items are removed from decks. Report any boats adrift, pollution or other maritime emergencies to the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Command Center at 808-842-2600 or to the National Response Center at 800-424-8802.

The National Weather Service — www.noaa.gov — has posted hazardous weather outlooks for the entire state of Hawaii to include gale force wind warnings, small craft advisories and high surf advisories. The boating public is strongly encouraged to pay close attention to local weather forecasts before leaving port.

Here are some tips for those who choose to go out on the water during the potentially heavy weather:

  • Leave a float plan with a responsible individual who knows your intentions, location and who they should call if you do not return as scheduled.
  • Wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket and set the example for your passengers or paddling partners.
  • Carry a marine band VHF radio and/or other reliable means of communication.
  • Be prepared for the shock of sudden immersion and the disabling effects of cold water. Plan for the worst: dress as though you are going to get wet and be cold.
  • Maintain awareness on the water — be aware of activity around your vessel including changing weather, and always know your location.
  • Be responsible — know that alcohol and drugs cause accidents and sometimes death.
  • Don’t boat alone — boating alone is not recommended. Recreational paddlers canoeists and kayakers often travel with a single craft and one partner, or even solo, but it is recommended you canoe, kayak or boat with at least three people or two craft.
  • Know your limitations paddle — be honest with yourself and your companions. Your life and the lives of those in your party may depend on how everyone understands each other’s capabilities.

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