Coast Guard urges caution during spiny lobster season

SAN PEDRO, Calif. — The Coast Guard is urging all divers and mariners to exercise caution and utilize safe diving practices in advance of the California spiny lobster season in the greater Los Angeles area.

On Sunday, the spiny lobster season begins leading to an increase of diving activity in Southern California waters. All mariners should remain vigilant when navigating areas where a dive flag is displayed.

“We ask that divers and boaters carefully plan their activities to account for the risks inherent in lobster diving,” said Lt. Cmdr. John Suckow, the Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach chief of incident management division. “The Coast Guard takes our responsibility for keeping the public safe on the water very seriously.”

All divers are urged to exercise caution and implement the following tips:

  • Have a medical assessment completed by a doctor before diving.
  • Plan the dive, follow the plan and provide a float plan to someone ashore who can report divers overdue if they do not return as planned.
  • Never dive alone
  • Choose dives that match one’s training, experience and fitness level.
  • Practice emergency procedures, like dropping one’s weight belt and inflating the buoyancy compensator, in a controlled environment.

Additionally, divers should consider the following safety points when using dive boats or other conveyances:

  • If using a commercial passenger vessel or hiring a boat to dive, ensure the boat is under the command of a credentialed mariner and has been recently inspected by the Coast Guard, if carrying more than six passengers.
  • Be aware of emergency procedures on all dive boats, including location of lifesaving equipment and means of egress and escape.
  • Reduce potential fire hazards by limiting the unsupervised charging of lithium-ion batteries in devices such as cell phones and small cameras.

Mariners are required to report diving incidents to Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach via VHF channel 16 or by calling (310) 521-3801.

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