Coast Guard urges mariners, beachgoers to exercise caution as high winds forecasted

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The U.S. Coast Guard is urging mariners to exercise caution over the next several days as the National Weather Service has issued a Small Craft Advisory for coastal waters and a Gale Warning for the waters from 10 to 60 miles offshore.

Today through Tuesday night winds are forecasted to be steady up to 34 miles per hour with gusts up to 40 miles per hour along the coast, up to 10 miles offshore. From 10 to 60 miles offshore, the winds are forecasted to steady up to 40 miles per hour with gusts up to 46 miles per hour.

The Coast Guard strongly recommends boaters avoid taking to the water over the next few days, until the seas subside. The high winds can cause inexperienced mariners or those in smaller vessels to find themselves in dangerous situations.

If it necessary to get underway mariners are urged to check that all of their safety equipment is in good condition.

There should be a personal flotation device onboard for each person, sized accordingly. If boaters will be traveling offshore, it is strongly recommended that there be an immersion suit or other full-body protection, as water temperatures will be cold, and hypothermia can quickly overtake the average person.

All boaters should also ensure that they have a working marine VHF radio on board to contact the Coast Guard on channel 16 should an emergency arise. The Coast Guard reminds all mariners that channel 16 is an emergency frequency, and should be used for such. Misuse of channel 16 or broadcasting false distress calls can result in prison time, severe fines, and you could be liable for any costs incurred as a result of search efforts.

The Coast Guard also strongly recommends that all boaters file a float plan with a friend or family member on land, with an approximate time of return and location to which you will be heading. It is also recommended that you regularly check in with those who are aware of your plan, especially if your plan should change.

Mariners should check current and forecasted weather conditions prior to getting underway, and remain aware of changing conditions once on the water. The National Weather Service broadcasts weather conditions throughout the day on VHF channel WX2. The Coast Guard broadcasts weather conditions on VHF channel 22A at 9:30 a.m., noon, and 4:30 p.m.

The Coast Guard strongly recommends that people avoid going near beaches or other low-lying coastal areas, especially jetties and rocky areas, over the next several days. Large waves can quickly, and unexpectedly sweep a person from these areas. Even the strongest swimmers can quickly be overtaken by the power of the sea, especially when the cold-water temperatures are factored in.

Though the large waves can be an extreme sight to some, the Coast Guard, along with its partner state and local agencies, urge people to not go near these areas if at all possible. The risk to life is too great during conditions such as these.

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