Coast Guard urge boaters to practice caution during heavy weather

National Weather Service LogoSAN FRANCISCO – The Coast Guard, California Department of Boating and Waterways (DBW), and the National Weather Service urge members of the public to exercise safe and responsible boating practices during the upcoming heavy weather this weekend.

High seas, strong winds and wide spread rain are predicted for Northern California starting Friday, continuing through the weekend and into the next week.

There will be strong southerly winds increasing throughout the day on Friday until they reach 20-30 kts with pockets of gale force winds reaching 40 kts Friday evening, said National Weather Service Marine Forecaster Charles Bell.

The waves of 5-8 feet will be from both the South and the North.  This will cause a confused sea state which can be extremely hazardous for any boater or swimmer.

Weather and wave forecasts should be checked prior to getting underway. Listen to the NOAA Weather Radio or go to http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/mtr for the latest updates.  Wave forecasts can also be found at http://www.dbw.ca.gov.

The Coast Guard and DBW strongly recommend 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.

Vessel owners and operators are also encouraged to check the status of mooring and anchoring arrangements.  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 and DBW urge 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.

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