Coast Guard urges caution during dangerous surf conditions in Puerto Rico, 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 through Friday along the northern coasts of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Coast Guard Watchstanders in Sector San Juan continue to monitor the weather due to long period swells that continue to affect local Atlantic waters and Caribbean Passages Thursday, that are expected to generate large breaking waves of 12 to 16 feet, and locally higher, along the northern exposed coastlines of the islands.

“Surfers, swimmers and recreational boaters must pay close attention to these dangerous surf conditions,” said Capt. Marc Stegman, Sector San Juan acting commander. “People should also stay off the rocks near the shoreline until surf conditions normalize.”

Recreational boaters, swimmers and surfers should monitor this situation through updated National Weather Service advisories and take appropriate action to minimize the risks associated with these predicted conditions.

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 current and be able to safely swim to shore.

• 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: and

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