Coast Guard urges boardsport and kayak safety on San Francisco Bay

Pacific Southwest Coast Guard News
SAN FRANCISCO —Coast Guard Captain of the Port of San Francisco Gregory Stump has released a safety message reminding boardsport and kayak users to exercise safe and responsible practices and to apply important safety guidelines when on San Francisco Bay.

As kiteboarding, windsurfing, stand-up paddling and kayaking become more popular, the Coast Guard has seen a rising trend in the number of individuals requiring assistance. The Coast Guard and local agencies responded to over 250 search and rescue cases involving these sports last year. Adherence to safety guidelines, an understanding of the environment and knowledge of other users in the Bay can help to reverse this trend.

It is important to always wear a personal floatation device, carry a hand held VHF radio, have access to flares, mark gear with reflective tape and notify someone where you are going and when you plan to return. It is also important to stay mindful of prevailing and forecasted winds, tides and currents, and the potential impacts they have on returning safely to shore. Equipment should always be marked with a name and telephone number so that contact can be made if the gear is found adrift and to avoid unnecessary searching.

“We are committed to maintaining a safe and accessible waterway for those who work and recreate on San Francisco Bay,” said Stump. “Our goal is to ensure everyone can return home safely to their families. To that end, I urge all boardsport and kayak enthusiasts to take precautions for their safety, the safety of other waterway users, and the safety of Coast Guard personnel that may be called upon to come rescue you.”

Boardsports and kayaking in the vicinity of commercial shipping lanes can present significant safety and navigational hazards. Recreational craft used for boardsports and kayaking are considered vessels for regulatory purposes when operating beyond the narrow limits of a recreational area. This means that all sailing vessels and other vessels less than 20 meters in length do not have right of way over deep draft vessels, such as cargo ships, oil tankers and cruise ships, in San Francisco Bay.

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