Coast Guard urges caution during holiday weekend gale

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SAN DIEGO — The Coast Guard urges mariners and beach goers to exercise caution when venturing out on or near the water this weekend, as the National Weather Service has issued a gale warning for Southern California that is in effect until 7 a.m., Saturday morning.

The gale warning issued this afternoon is in effect for shoreline areas and coastal waters from San Mateo Point south to the border of Mexico, and extends out 30 miles.

Gale force winds and heavy rain are expected Friday night, as well as unsettled conditions through Sunday.

A gale warning means winds of 34 to 47 knots are imminent or occurring. Operating a vessel in gale conditions requires experience and properly equipped vessels. It is highly recommended that mariners without proper experience seek safe harbor prior to the onset of gale conditions.

Mariners are urged to verify that all of their safety equipment is on board and in good condition before going underway. This includes a properly fitted personal flotation device for everyone aboard, navigation lights, distress signals and a fire extinguisher. Safety equipment requirements vary by size and type of vessel, for more information visit: http://www.uscgboating.org/.

In addition to required distress signals, boaters are strongly encouraged to have a VHF marine radio on board to monitor weather conditions, communicate with other mariners and call for help in the event of an emergency.

For the National Weather Service advisories, click the following link: http://forecast.weather.gov/shmrn.php?mz=pzz750&syn=pzz700

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