West Coast boaters warned of high winds and seas

LOS ANGELES – The National Weather Service is warning of possible gale force winds (sustained surface winds of 39 to 54 miles per hour) and high seas of 10 to 15 feet beginning Friday night that are expected to last though the weekend. The Coast Guard strongly urges recreational boaters to exercise extreme caution during this time.

A storm system off the coast of the Pacific Northwest is expected to generate a large northwest swell which will move into the southwest California coastal waters this weekend. Combined seas of 10 to 13 feet with seas as high as 15 feet at times can be expected over the outer waters Saturday through Sunday. According to the National Weather Service these seas will create hazardous conditions at west and northwest facing habor entrances in affected area.

Boaters who plan on venturing out should take extra precautions to ensure their own safety.

“Recreational boating is not advisable for the next couple of days. Those who do plan on boating should tell someone where they are going, and make sure they have their required safety equipment such as lifejackets for everyone on board and signal flares,” said Anthony Turner, spokesman for Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach.

The Coast Guard suggests boaters also equip their boats with GPS, a marine VHF radio, and 406Mhz Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB). “Often boaters in distress will rely on their cell phones. Coverage off shore can be unreliable. With a marine VHF radio boaters in distress can contact the Coast Guard on channel 16. We have someone listening to that channel 24-hours a day,” said Turner.

The most current marine forecast is available on the National Weather Service web site at http://www.weather.gov/. Boating safety requirements and education information can be found at http://www.uscgboating.org/.

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