Coast Guard urging caution along California Coast

ALAMEDA, Calif. — The Coast Guard is warning beach goers and boaters to exercise extreme caution while operating along the northern California Coast from Thursday through Friday evening.

The National Weather Service has issued a high surf advisory extending from south of Sonoma County into Monterey County.

It is forecasted, large swells up to the 20-foot range, will create strong rip currents at most beaches, moderate to large surf at reefs and sand bars and potential sneaker waves at steeper beaches.

“Boaters and beach-goers should remain vigilant, prepare for the unexpected and have proper survival and communications gear at the ready if disaster strikes,” said Capt. Greg Stump, commander of Coast Guard Sector San Francisco. “Sneaker waves are extremely perilous given their quick and silent punch; too many people have had their lives needlessly shortened.”

Sneaker waves can catch beach-goers and fishermen by surprise. People walking along the beach should not turn their back to the ocean. Families should protect themselves and their loved ones from surf zones and avoid low-lying areas. Fishermen should avoid fishing near rocks and jetties.

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.

Boaters are also reminded to check the weather before getting underway and ensure that their safety gear is up to date, and in good working condition. Basic safety items include: properly fitting lifejackets for everyone aboard, flares, a marine band radio and an emergency position indicating radio beacon.

The Coast Guard encourages all boaters to file float plans with friends or family.  A good float plan includes a description of the vessel, names of the crew, a list of safety equipment on board the vessel, the estimated time of arrival at the fishing grounds and the ultimate destination of the excursion.  The Coast Guard does not monitor float plans. Boaters should leave the float plan with a reliable person who can be depended upon to notify the Coast Guard in case you do not return as scheduled.  Float plan templates are available online and can be found here.

For more information on float plans click here

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