Coast Guard urges caution for hazardous beach conditions in Northern and Central California

rip currentsSAN FRANCISCO — The Coast Guard is urging boaters and beachgoers to exercise caution in and around the waters along the Northern and Central California coast due to forecasted strong swells on Sunday.

Exceptionally strong rip currents and large shore breaks are anticipated to impact all west and northwest facing beaches from Sonoma County to Monterey County. Strong rip currents are typically more frequent and stronger near jetties, inlets and piers. Swimmers are encouraged to swim near a lifeguard and reminded to use a buddy system.

“Boaters and beachgoers should be especially cautious on and near the water over the next several days,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Jess LaRue, a Coast Guard Sector San Francisco Command Center watchstander. “We’re ready to respond if boaters and beachgoers find themselves in distress.”

The Coast Guard offers the following safety tips on the water:

* Stay Informed – Be aware of weather conditions and monitor the progress and strength of storms through local television, radio and internet. Be aware that weather conditions can change quickly. Check the current and expected weather and water conditions before heading out.

*When recreating on the water, whether boating or involved in sports such as kayaking, paddle boarding, or kite and wind surfing, always have a working VHF-FM radio. Mobile phones may not be reliable on the water, and the Coast Guard has the ability to determine your general location when you call with a marine-band radio, which can affect a quick response when people are in distress.

*Wear life jackets while on the water at all times.

*File a float plan with friends, family members or local marinas before heading out. A float plan should include contact information, the number of passengers, the vessel’s destination and expected time of return.

*Do not boat under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances, because it can impair your judgment, vision, balance and coordination. Boat motion, vibration, engine noise, sun, wind and spray can accelerate impairment.

*Keep children informed of water safety. The Coast Guard encourages educating children on water safety. For more information on boating safety for kids, visit http://ift.tt/1jnhoL2

* Divers should evaluate their own physical condition as well as that of their equipment, never dive alone, and be willing to cancel their diving plans and choose another activity if ocean conditions are too rough.

*Dog owners are also reminded to protect their pets from rough waves and not to attempt to rescue their dog from a surf zone. It is important to remember to keep calm and allow the dogs to swim out on their own. For more information on how to protect your pets, please visit http://ift.tt/1mMtu32

For more information on the current weather conditions please refer to the following links:

National Weather Service

National Weather Service Marine Forecast

Bay Area Forecast

For information on rip current safety, visit this link:

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