Coast Guard urges boaters to practice caution during small craft advisory

SAN DIEGO — The Coast Guard advises boaters to practice caution when taking to the water this evening, due to a small craft advisory issued by the National Weather Service at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 4, 2009.

The small craft advisory is slated to be in effect until 9 this evening, and covers from San Mateo Point to the Mexican border, extending 30 miles offshore.

A small craft advisory means that wind speeds of 21 to 33 knots are expected to cause hazardous wave conditions to small craft. Inexperienced mariners, especially those operating small vessels, should avoid navigating in these conditions.

Coast Guard and San Diego Lifeguard personnel responded to three capsized vessels on the rocks of the south jetty of the Mission Bay Channel this afternoon. The Lifeguards recovered three people from the water in good condition, a fourth was able to climb onto the rocks of the jetty and was also assisted by the Lifeguards.

Boaters who must venture out should take extra precautions to ensure their safety. It is important that boaters make sure they have required safety equipment, such as lifejackets for everyone aboard and signal flares, and also equip their boats with a Global Positioning System (GPS), a marine VHF radio, and a 406-MHz Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB). Cellular phones can be useful as a backup means of communication, but signal coverage can be unreliable offshore.

Boaters in distress can contact the Coast Guard with a marine VHF radio on channel 16.

The most current marine forecast is available on the National Weather Service web site at http://www.weather.gov/ . Boating safety requirements and education information can be found at http://www.uscgboating.org/ .

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