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 during of the California spiny lobster season in the greater Los Angeles area.

Opening weekend led to an increase in diving activity, and unfortunately, two diving-related deaths in Southern California.

“The importance of boating and diving safety cannot be overstated,” said Cmdr. Johna Rossetti from Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach. “Remember to be safe in anything you do. Taking precautions can increase the chance of helping or finding a diver in the event Coast Guard assistance is needed.”

All divers are urged to exercise caution and implement best practices:

  • 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 these 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 the 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.
  • All mariners are reminded to remain vigilant when navigating areas where a dive flag is displayed.

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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