Coast Guard warns of hazards to boaters during Mavericks Invitational Surfing Contest

ALAMEDA, Calif. — The Coast Guard is warning boaters of the dangers associated with Mavericks Invitational Surf Contest off the coast of Pillar Point, Calif., Friday.

The dynamic nature of breaking surf in the vicinity of the event creates inherent hazards for both participants and spectators. Due to the hazardous waters surrounding Pillar Point at the time of the surfing competition, the Coast Guard strongly discourages spectators from observing the event from the water. The Coast Guard will not be establishing a Safety Zone for the event as it is virtually impossible to reliably predetermine safe water in the immediate vicinity of the contest. Coast Guard and San Mateo County Harbor District assets will be in the event area and ready to respond in case of an emergency.

“The surf conditions that make for an exciting competition are also extremely dangerous for boaters,” said Capt. Greg Stump, Commander of Coast Guard Sector San Francisco. “Spectators on the water may pose a significant risk to themselves, competitors and rescue personnel; I strongly urge the public to enjoy the competition from an appropriate venue on land, rather than attempting to navigate the treacherous surf.”

Spectators choosing to view the event from the water do so at their own risk. Boaters should exercise extreme caution, remain aware of changing surf conditions, ensure their vessel is of appropriate design and outfitted with proper safety equipment. The Mavericks Surf Contest is only held when 15-20-foot waves are sustained for more than 24 hours and are combined with mild easterly winds. These surf conditions coupled with strong currents and shallow reefs in the area create a dangerous situation for both spectators and rescuers.

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