Coast Guard encourages preventative measures for moored and anchored vessels

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The 50-foot sailboat, High Priestess, sits on East Beach after running aground the morning of Dec. 22. Heavy rains and high winds along the California coast has caused several vessels to break loose of their moorings or be swamped. Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Santa Barbara personnel responded to this vessel as well as another vessel aground on the same beach. The High Priestess is carrying 250 gallons of fuel onboard and commercial crews are beginning the process of removing all hazardous chemicals to avoid a spill. U.S. Coast Guard photographASTORIA, Ore. — The Coast Guard encourages owners and operators of vessels anchored or moored in Oregon and Washington states to conduct preventative maintenance in anticipation of severe winter weather conditions.

The Coast Guard is providing this information to the public after responding to three vessels which sank at their docks, while moored, due to heavy rains.

Pollution violations caused by sunken vessels could result in fines and salvage costs. A maximum civil penalty of $40,000 per day or up to three times the cost incurred by the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund may be assessed.

To prevent the sinking of a vessel, the Coast Guard recommends boaters:

  • Check local weather forecasts frequently. Be aware that storms can come up quickly and without warning.
  • Cover and secure your boat. Heavy rains can flood boats causing them to sink in extreme cases.
  • Check the shaft packing for excess leakage.
  • Perform routine checks for signs of loose or deteriorating planks on wooden hulled vessels.
  • Conduct a routine inspection of your automatic bilge pump.
  • Visually inspect all thru-hull fittings for damage or loose connections.
  • Remove all unnecessary fuel, designate a caretaker, and leave contact information with the harbormaster if you are planning to be away for an extended period of time.

These simple steps can prevent damage to the environment and personal property while limiting man hours and taxpayer dollars spent on avoidable incidents.

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