Coast Guard Warns Boaters of Bad Weather

LOS ANGELES – The US Coast Guard is warning boaters to be aware of high winds and seas expected to last through early next week from Point Conception to the Orange County coast.  According to the National Weather Service a very strong and unusually long period of gusty winds up 46 mph is forecasted to affect portions of southern California coastal waters.  Gale force winds are expected to cross into the outer coastal waters at Point Conception by this afternoon.

“Boaters should check the weather before heading out on the water.  They should also know the limits of their boat.” said Sandy Needle, a senior operations controller for Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach who is responsible for coordinating search and rescue.

“In conditions such as these, we can expect an increase of distress calls from small boat operators who underestimate the weather and overestimate the capabilities of their boat.” said Needle.

A potentially strong Santa Ana wind event is expected by late Saturday night or Sunday morning.  Gusty offshore winds are expected to affect the inner and outer coastal waters of Southern California Sunday into Monday.

The strongest offshore winds are expected to occur below passes and canyons of the inner coastal wasters from Rincon Point in Ventura County to San Mateo Point in southern Orange County.  These favored locations will likely experience gale force winds during the peak of the event with gusts up to 46 mph possible.

The strong offshore winds will likely affect portions of the Channel Islands as well as the San Pedro Channel to Catalina Island.  This is likely to impact Avalon Harbor at Catalina Island.  Wind driven waves could build to 3 to 5 feet and move into the harbor.

The National Weather Service urges boaters in Avalon Harbor to take necessary precautions to secure their boats from the potentially hazardous winds and seas expected to move into the area on Sunday and Monday.  Boaters should take into account that during Santa Ana wind events weather and sea conditions can change without warning.

According to Needle, boaters who do decide to venture out in these conditions should ensure they have Coast Guard approved lifejackets for everyone on board, a working marine band VHF radio, flares, and a GPS.

“One of the most important things a boater can do is tell someone – a family member, a friend – where they are going, the route they plan to take, and when they plan on getting there.” said Needle. “So if they don’t arrive at their destination, we at least have a starting point from which we can being our search.”

The most current marine forecast is available on the National Weather Service website.

The Coast Guard’s safety equipment requirements are available at:

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