California Boaters Warned of Hazardous Seas

SAN FRANCISCO – The National Weather Service is warning of high seas, heavy rain and strong winds associated with a storm system that is expected to move into the area beginning tonight, and which are expected to last though the weekend. The Coast Guard strongly urges boaters to remain in port during this time and that people remain vigilant to stay away from beaches, rocky shorelines, and cliffs. High surf, strong winds and dangerous waves will make walking near the shore very dangerous.

The National Weather Service marine forecast calls for winds to pick up tonight, with gusts expected to reach 23 miles per hour after midnight. There will be a northwestern swell of 9 to 11 feet through the night as well.

The forecast for Saturday calls for heavy rain and winds from 28 to 40 miles per hour increasing to 34 to 46 miles an hour with gusts up to 57 miles per hour Saturday evening. Combined seas are estimated to exceed 20 feet in some locations and are expected to reach 25 feet by Sunday morning. These hazardous seas will continue through Sunday with wave heights beginning to diminish on Monday.

The marine forecast for Monday calls for swells of 14 to 19 feet and winds from 12 to 23 miles per hour. Boaters are also advised to remain off the water and not develop a false sense of security as wind and rain diminishes. The Coast Guard is warning people to remain vigilant, and to stay away from beaches, rocky shorelines, and cliffs as storms subside.

The National Weather Service urges mariners to exercise caution over the weekend with this forecast of hazardous conditions. Boaters who plan on venturing out should take extra precautions to ensure their own safety.

“Recreational boating is not advisable for the next couple of days. Mariners who must get underway should tell someone where they are going, and make sure they have their required safety equipment such as life jackets for everyone on board and signal flares,” said Capt. Paul M. Gugg, Commander, Coast Guard Sector San Francisco.

The Coast Guard suggests boaters to also equip their boats with GPS, a marine VHF radio, and 406Mhz Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB). With a marine VHF radio, boaters are given the ability to contact the Coast Guard on channel 16 when in distress.

In preparation for severe weather forecasted to hit Northern and Central California over the next several days, local Coast Guard units are recalling personnel, and all units will be placed on immediate standby. All Coast Guard units will be ready to handle cases which may arise during and following the storms as they move through the area.

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