High seas warning

Just in from the Coast Guard:

 

Coast Guard urges mariners exercise caution as high seas forecasted through the weekend

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Coast Guard is urging mariners to exercise caution through the weekend as the National Weather Service has issued a Hazardous Seas Warning and a High Surf Advisory for the California coast.

From 10 p.m. Friday until 10 a.m. Sunday, swells are expected to reach as high as 19 feet with large breaking waves approaching 20 feet in the surf zone.  Dangerous rip currents are expected as well.  Swell height should diminish below 15 feet late Sunday night and into Monday morning.

The Coast Guard recommends that people avoid going near beaches or other low-lying coastal areas, especially jetties and rocky areas, over the next several days.  Large waves can quickly and unexpectedly sweep a person from these areas.  Even the strongest swimmers can be overtaken by the power of the sea, especially when the cold-water temperatures are factored in.

Though the large waves can be an extreme sight to some, the Coast Guard, along with its partner state and local agencies, urge people to not go near these areas if at all possible.  The risk to life is too great during conditions such as these.

The Coast Guard also recommends boaters avoid taking to the water until the seas subside.  The high seas can put inexperienced mariners, or those in smaller vessels, in dangerous situations.

If it is necessary to get underway, mariners are urged to check that all of their safety equipment is in good condition.

There should be an appropriately sized personal flotation device available for each person aboard the vessel.  If boaters will be traveling offshore, it is strongly recommended that there be an immersion suit or other full-body protection, as water temperatures will be cold, and hypothermia can quickly overtake the average person.

All boaters should also ensure that they have a working marine VHF radio on board to contact the Coast Guard on channel 16 should an emergency arise.  The Coast Guard reminds all mariners that channel 16 is an emergency frequency, and should be used for such.  Misuse of channel 16 or broadcasting false distress calls can result in prison time, severe fines, and you could be liable for any costs incurred as a result of search efforts.

The Coast Guard also recommends that all boaters file a float plan with a friend or family member on land with an approximate time of return and voyage location.  It is also recommended boaters regularly check in and update any changes to their float plan.

Mariners should check current and forecasted weather conditions prior to getting underway, and remain aware of changing conditions once on the water.  The National Weather Service broadcasts weather conditions throughout the day on VHF channel WX2.  The Coast Guard broadcasts weather conditions on VHF channel 22A at 9:30 a.m., noon, and 4:30 p.m.

For more information on boating safety and required and recommended safety equipment, please visit http://www.uscgboating.org.

For more information on weather conditions, please visit http://www.weather.gov.

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