Coast Guard Urges “Best Safety Practices” for Upcoming Winter Storms

SAN FRANCISCO – As the winter storm season approaches, the Coast Guard is urging the boating public to exercise responsible practices, and to keep beach safety guidelines in mind.

Each year, the Coast Guard responds to reports of vessels and objects breaking free from moorings, anchorages, and piers. Such derelict vessels may result in a hazard to navigation and become a potential pollution risk.

Mariners are urged to ensure anchor and mooring lines are in good condition, and to remove all oil and hazardous materials from vessels as poor weather approaches. Additionally, all loose materials and supplies left onboard should be securely stowed to prevent shifting, which may cause instability.

Boaters are encouraged to stay off the water if poor weather is forecast. Should it become necessary to leave the dock, mariners should ensure that all safety and navigation equipment, such as lifejackets, marine radios, and distress signals, are in proper working condition. Mariners should always carry registered, 406-Mhz Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRB) as well as cold weather immersion suits to protect against the elements, especially when sailing offshore.

During winter weather, the public should also avoid beaches and rocky shorelines, as the surf will be unpredictable, increasing the likelihood of being swept into the sea.

The public is reminded that Bay Area storms occasionally result in wave heights and wind conditions that can exceed the operating limitations of Coast Guard search and rescue assets, making it difficult and dangerous to respond to situations of distress. The public should always check weather conditions and stay off of the water and away from beaches and rocky shorelines unless to ensure their safety as well as the safety of emergency responders.

For more information on safe boating practices, visit www.uscgboating.org . For updated weather forecasts, check www.weather.gov.

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