Coast Guard urges caution along California coastal areas this weekend

Pacific Southwest Coast Guard News
SAN FRANCISCO – The Coast Guard and the National Park Service are reminding beach goers and boaters to exercise extreme caution while operating along the Northern California Coast this weekend.

The National Weather Service has issued a high surf advisory from 10 a.m. Saturday to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Large swells, locally in the 8 – 10 foot range, will create a dangerous near shore environment. A beach hazards statement has been issued for “sneaker waves” and will remain in effect from Friday afternoon through Saturday morning. These conditions will result in strong rip currents and possible sneaker waves. Steeper beaches, particularly northwest facing beaches, will see large breaking waves.

Sneaker waves can catch beach goers and fishermen by surprise, washing them into the sea. An excessive run up of waves onto beaches as well as strengthening rip currents should be expected as the seas build. People walking along the beach should not turn their back to the ocean. Families and dog owners should protect themselves and their loved ones from surf zones and avoid low-lying areas. Fishermen should avoid fishing from rocks and jetties.

Boaters are also reminded to check the weather before getting underway and ensure that their safety gear is up to date, and in good working condition. Basic safety items include: properly fitting lifejackets for everyone aboard, flares, a marine band radio and an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon.

The Coast Guard encourages all boaters to file float plans with friends or family.  A good float plan includes a description of the vessel, names of the crew, a list of safety equipment on board the vessel, the estimated time of arrival at the fishing grounds and the ultimate destination of the excursion.  The Coast Guard does not monitor float plans. Boaters should leave the float plan with a reliable person who can be depended upon to notify the Coast Guard in case you do not return as scheduled.  Float plan templates are available online and can be found here.

For additional information, visit: http://www.nps.gov/pore/planyourvisit/beaches.htm#CP_JUMP_79900

NOAA Marine Weather from Fort Bragg to Piedras Blancas, CA, http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/mtr/

USCG Safe Boating, www.uscgboating.org.

A surfer takes on a massive wave in Halfmoon Bay during the 20110 Mavericks Invitational Surf Contest.

A surfer takes on a massive wave in Halfmoon Bay during the 20110 Mavericks Invitational Surf Contest.

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