Coast Guard urges caution for heavy surf conditions in Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands

National Weather Service LogoSAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The U.S. Coast Guard is urging boaters, swimmers and surfers to expect and prepare for dangerous high surf conditions expected Sunday through Monday along the southern coasts of Puerto Rico and Saint Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands.

Coast Guard Watchstanders in Sector San Juan continue to monitor the weather due to the passing of Hurricane Tomas south of the islands.

“People should take this weather system seriously and avoid recreational activities in the ocean until surf conditions normalize,” said Capt. Eduardo Pino, Sector San Juan commander.   “Storm surges and rip currents are dangers that may take lives and damage property without notice.”

Recreational boaters, swimmers and surfers should pay close attention and monitor this situation through updated National Weather Service advisories and take appropriate action to minimize the risks associated with these predicted conditions.  http://www.srh.noaa.gov.

Safety Tips:

  • If you become caught in a rip current…do not panic.  Calmly, remain afloat, gather your bearings relative to the beach and swim parallel to the beach.  You will eventually leave the grip of this narrow curren and be able to safely swim to shore. http://www.weather.gov/alerts-beta/wwacapget.php?x=PR20101030211400JSJHighSurfAdvisoryJSJ20101101180000PR
  • Check the weather before casting off and monitor the weather by radio continuously.
  • It is recommended that everyone always wear a life jacket when in the water, but at a minimum have a properly fitting life jacket for every person on board and ensure that they are quickly accessible.  Often, when trouble happens, it happens fast.
  • Know the boat you are on, including the location and operation of all safety gear, including a VHF-marine radio.  This is especially true if renting or borrowing a boat that you may not be familiar with.
  • A float plan should be prepared and shared with friends and family. That will give them an idea of where you are going and when you will return home.  The float plan has all pertinent information about your boat, increasing your chances of being rescued. You can download a float plan at: http://www.floatplancentral.org/ and http://www.floatplancentral.org/download/USCGFloatPlan.pdf.

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