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Boating Alerts & Notices: 2011


11/30/2011

Mustang Survival PFD Recall Notice



11/03/2011

Notice of Flashboards Installation/Boat Lock Operation at Suisun Marsh Salinity Control Gates



Contact:  Sheryl Moore (209) 833-2080
Rhett Cotter (209) 833-2077

November 03, 2011


The California Department of Water Resources advises that it installed the flashboards and began Boat Lock operations at the Suisun Marsh Salinity Control Gates, located 2.2. nautical miles from the easterly end of Montezuma Slough at coordinates, 38°05’36”n 121°53’07”w on October 21, 2011.

Mariners are advised to use the boat lock on the west side of the channel.  The boat lock will be open to boat traffic between the hours of 0600 hours and 1800 hours, unless informed otherwise.  Signs and lights will be posted to warn vessels to avoid the use of the maintenance channel on the east side of the facility.



08/30/2011

DBW Issues Safety Reminder for Labor Day Weekend



Contact:  Greg Imura (916) 651-5691

August 30, 2011


SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The Department of Boating and Waterways (DBW) issued a safety reminder to boaters for the upcoming Labor Day weekend.

“California’s waterways are expected to be crowded during Labor Day weekend”, stated DBW’s Acting Director Lucia Becerra. “Wearing a life jacket, avoiding alcohol and maintaining a proper lookout are the top three life-saving practices that boaters are being asked to follow for a safe and pleasant weekend.”

  • Life Jackets
    Knowing how to swim does not make you drown-proof. Statistics show that many boating fatalities involved boaters not wearing life jackets, getting knocked unconscious and going under the water. A properly fitted life jacket will help keep you float until help arrives. So far this year, 17 drowning victims have been reported to DBW. Eleven were not wearing life jackets, five were and one is unknown.
  • Alcohol
    It is against the law to operate a boat, or be towed behind or alongside a boat with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or more. Designating a driver is not enough on vessels. The concept works well in cars, but drunken passengers on boats can easily fall overboard, swim near the propeller, or cause loading problems by leaning over the side or standing up in small vessels, causing them to capsize. Everyone who drinks alcohol on board a boat is at risk. If you do drink, wear a life jacket.
  • Operator Inattention
    Operator inattention is the leading cause of boating accidents, contributing to 35 percent of all California boating accidents last year. While the operator is ultimately responsible for maintaining a proper lookout, it is a good idea to designate someone else on board to help watch for other traffic, especially on a large boat or in congested areas.

In addition to the top three life saving practices, boat operators are also encouraged to familiarize their passengers with safety equipment and how to be safe aboard their boats (e.g. keep hands inside the boat when near a dock, carbon monoxide dangers, propeller safety, etc.).

For more boating safety tips, visit www.dbw.ca.gov/SafetyTips. Remember, “If it’s your boat, it’s your responsibility”.

-30-

The Department of Boating and Waterways enhances public access to California’s waterways and promotes on-the-water safety through programs funded by vessel registration fees, boating fuel tax dollars and boating facility construction loan payments.



05/18/2011

Notice of Flashboards Removal/Boat Lock Suspension at Suisun Marsh Salinity Control Gates





May 18, 2011


SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Water Resources advises that it will remove the flashboards and suspend Boat Lock operations at the Suisun Marsh Salinity Control Gates, located 2.2. nautical miles from the easterly end of Montezuma Slough at the coordinates, 38.05'36"N 121.53'07"W, beginning no sooner than May 18, 2011.

Mariners are advised to use the Maintenance Channel on the east side of the channel. The Boat Lock will be closed to boat traffic. Signs and lights will be posted to warn vessels to avoid the Boat Lock.



04/21/2011

SPRING SNOWMELT PROMPTS WATER SAFETY WARNING
Outdoor Recreationists Should Take Precautions Against Cold Temperatures, Swift Currents When in or Near Water






Contact:  PG&E External Communications (415) 973-8709
California Department of Boating and Waterways (916) 651-5692

April 21, 2011


SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), the California Department of Boating and Waterways (DBW) and California State Parks warn outdoor recreationists to take precautions this spring season. This year's abundant snowfall and spring snowmelt will result in swift and cold river flows that can create treacherous conditions for all recreationists - waders, swimmers, paddlers, boaters, anglers and even hikers cooling off at the water's edge.

The utility and state departments cautioned that the water content of California's mountain snowpack was at 163 percent of normal as of April 1 - the highest amount since 1995. As warmer weather and longer days begin melting snow in mountainous regions, water temperatures will continue to drop and flows will continue to rise in waterways and reservoirs. Reservoir operators have begun increasing water releases in anticipation of filling later in the spring. Most PG&E reservoirs are expected to fill and water to flow over dam spillways in the May through July period.

"Those planning outings near mountain streams, rivers and reservoirs need to be extra vigilant and take appropriate safety measures," said Alvin Thoma, director of PG&E's power generation department. "Water flows will fluctuate with the warming and cooling of the day so always be prepared for a change in conditions."

"Even experienced swimmers can get caught in swift river flows," said DBW's Acting Director Lucia C. Becerra. "Stay safe by checking local conditions before taking a boating trip, wear a life jacket and avoid alcohol."

"Spring is a wonderful time to visit our beautiful lakes and fast moving rivers," said Ruth Coleman, director of California State Parks. "But please read the safety tips in this water safety warning because making a mistake could kill you or a loved one."

Here are some safety tips:

Know the Water

  • Sudden immersion in cold water can stimulate the "gasp reflex" causing an involuntary inhalation of air or water. It can even trigger cardiac arrest, temporary paralysis, hypothermia and drowning. When faced with swift water, even the strongest swimmers may be easily overwhelmed.
  • Cold water entering the ear canal can cause vertigo and disorientation. This may confuse swimmers, causing them to venture deeper into the water.

Know your limits

  • Swimming in open water is more difficult than in a swimming pool - people tire more quickly and can get into trouble.
  • Cold water causes impairment leading to fatalities. It reduces body heat 25-30 times faster than air does at the same temperature.
  • Many unseen obstacles can be lurking below the water's surface. Swift water can make these obstacles even more treacherous.

Wear a life jacket

  • Conditions change quickly in open water and even the best swimmers can misjudge the water and their skills when boating or swimming. Wearing a life jacket can increase survival time.
  • A life jacket can provide some thermal protection against the onset of hypothermia and keep you afloat until someone else can rescue you.

Parental Supervision

  • Actively supervise children in and around open bodies of water, giving them your undivided attention. Appoint a designated "water watcher," taking turns with other adults.
  • Teach children that swimming in open water is not the same as swimming in a pool: they need to be aware of uneven surfaces, river currents, ocean undertow and changing weather.

Know the Law

  • A 2010 boating law states that children under age 13 must wear a life jacket when on a moving vessel that is 26 feet or less in length.
  • Every person on board a personal watercraft (popularly known as "jet skis") and any person being towed behind a vessel must wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
  • It is against the law to operate a boat or water ski with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more. You can be arrested even when your BAC is less than 0.08 percent if conditions are deemed to be unsafe.

About DBW
DBW enhances public access to California's waterways and promotes on-the-water safety through programs funded by vessel registration fees, boating fuel tax dollars and boating facility construction loan payments. For more information, visit www.dbw.ca.gov.

About PG&E
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation's cleanest energy to 15 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit www.pge.com/about/.

About California State Parks
California State Parks manages 278 parks units in a system that contains 1.5 million acres, 300 miles of the California coastline, 640 miles of lakefront and more than 300 miles of rivers. More than 65-million people visited State Parks in 2010. For more information, visit www.parks.ca.gov.



03/22/2011

Crescent City Harbor safety zone reduced

Department of Homeland Security Coast Guard logo

Contact: Paul Roszkowski, US Coast Guard, (252) 267-4732
Carol Singleton, California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, (916) 539-6124
Levi Read, US Coast Guard, (503) 686-8729

Date: March 21, 2011 4:00 PM PDT


CRESCENT CITY, Calif. - The Coast Guard has reduced the size of the safety zone established at Crescent City in support of emergency operations following the Friday, March 11, 2011 tsunami.

As of 1 p.m. Monday, Captain Cynthia Stowe, Coast Guard Captain of the Port of San Francisco, reduced the safety zone to encompass only the inner boat basin. The remainder of the Crescent City harbor will be open to all traffic.

Mariners transiting to or from the harbor should not rely on buoys six and seven for safe navigation. Instead, use other means of navigation, including the channel range markers.
Mariners should also use caution in the navigation channel east northeast of Pelican Rock, where depths of only nine feet have been identified.

The Unified Command is working with the harbor master and vessel owners to facilitate the movement of vessels within the inner boat basin, where most of the tsunami damage occurred. Some vessels need to be moved in order to perform necessary work and make room for a crane barge.

Owners whose vessels do not need to be moved are asked to be patient and allow responders to move damaged vessels that present a pollution risk first. The harbor’s boat lift is needed for recovery operations.

Responders’ top priority is to remove damaged vessels from the water in order to facilitate cleanup operations and allow the local fishing community to get back to business.

Information numbers:

  • Crescent City Harbor boat owners contact 707-464-6174 ext. 22
  • Report oil 1-800-852-7550
  • Report Injured Wildlife 1-877-823-6926

Follow the event on Twitter at DFG_OSPR or https://calspillwatch.dfg.ca.gov/



03/21/2011

Santa Cruz harbor restrictions eased

Department of Homeland Security Coast Guard logo

Contact: Laura Williams, U.S. Coast Guard, (415) 748-0112

Date: March 21, 2011 10:55:48 AM PDT


SAN FRANCISCO - The Coast Guard eased restrictions to the Santa Cruz Harbor Sunday, after safety assessments were completed for the area.

The southern half of Santa Cruz harbor, the harbor west of the Murray Street Bridge, is determined to be safe for vessels with a draft of 6 feet or less to transit. The determination was made after a National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration survey vessel performed a scan of the harbor sea floor, and safety assessments were completed in the area.

Access to the upper harbor is still restricted to all vessels not involved in the response efforts.


Santa Cruz Navigation Notice


View this document online

USCG District 11

US Coast Guard Northern California News


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03/17/2011

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA TSUNAMI UNIFIED COMMAND RESPONSE UPDATES FOR MARCH 17

Department of Homeland Security Coast Guard logo

DATE: March 17, 2011 4:46:24 PM PDT


SAN FRANCISCO - The Unified Command continues coordinated efforts in response to last week's tsunami impacts to Crescent City, Santa Cruz and other affected coastal areas.

Operational priorities for this response include:

  • Ensuring the safety of responders and the public.
  • Assessing and mitigating potential pollution threats.

The public is asked to follow local officials' directions and to avoid impacted coastal areas and harbors due to unstable conditions and debris hazards.

There are approximately 153 responders working in both Crescent City and Santa Cruz that includes personnel from the Coast Guard, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, Harbor District and oil spill response organizations.

For public safety, landside and waterside safety zones remain in place for selected areas within the marinas of Crescent City and Santa Cruz. Boat owners must contact harbor masters for permission to access their vessels until the area has been deemed safe.

Aircraft from the Department of Fish and Wildlife continue to conduct daily aerial surveys along the California coastal region from the California/Oregon border to Monterey. Aerial surveys help locate damaged vessels and identify pollution impacts.


While tsunami impacts are being addressed by responders and volunteers, the following useful information are being provided to the public for the following:

Oiled and impacted wildlife, contact the Oiled Wildlife Care Network: (877) 823-6926
Pollution sightings, contact the National Response Center: (800) 424-8802 or visit www.nrc.uscg.mil
Crescent City Harbormaster information: (707) 464-6174 ext. 22 http://www.ccharbor.com/
Santa Cruz Harbormaster information: (831) 475-6161 www.santacruzharbor.org
Santa Cruz Office of Emergency Services (831) 458-7109
Tsunami Relief Fund: (707) 465-1238 or (541) 412-6277
Harbor closures or restrictions: see fact sheet.
NOAA Tsunami warning center: http://wcatwc.arh.noaa.gov/
FEMA Tsunami preparation and information: http://www.fema.gov/hazard/tsunami/index.shtm


UNIFIED COMMAND RESPONDER ACTIVITIES
CRESCENT CITY SANTA CRUZ HARBOR
Media contact:
California Department of Fish and Wildlife,
Office of Spill Prevention and Response,
Alexia Retallack, (916) 952-3317
U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Levi Read, (510) 316-4586
Follow the event on Twitter at DFG_OSPR or https://calspillwatch.dfg.ca.gov/
Media contact:
California Department of Fish and Wildlife,
Kyle Orr (916) 322-8958
U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Pamela Manns, (510) 735-6758
  • The sunken 30-foot commercial fishing vessel, Tamara, has been raised and removed. Sunken vessel recovery continues as weather permits.
  • NOAA is using sonar technology to assess the harbor sea floor. Assessment will determine exact locations of navigational hazards, debris and shoal water to guide operations to make the harbor safe for mariners to transit.
  • Approximately 1,500-feet of hard and absorbent boom deployed to contain sources of sheen in the inner harbor and to mitigate harmful effects on the environment.
  • Underwater assessments continue to confirm locations of sunken vessels. Two contracted dive teams helped in locating and raising sunken vessels.
  • Significant amounts of debris were secured along the west side of the harbor for removal and disposal.
  • In the next 24-48 hours, heavy equipment and excavators will be moving into the harbor area to begin debris removal operations. Primary concern is public and responder safety.
MEDIA ALERT: To gain access to the operations area, please be equipped with hardhat, reflective vest, steel-toed shoes and eye protection.
  • No pollution threats have been identified in San Cruz pending NOAA assessment.
  • 70 percent of the docks are open for public access
  • Debris removal continues.
  • High surf advisory today may impact operations however, normal activities will resume when weather stabilizes.
Damage:
  • 47 vessels afloat but with some level of damage
  • 15 known sunken vessels; additional assessment for additional sunken vessels ongoing
  • 1 vessel grounded at mouth of Elk River
  • Large debris including rocks, logs, and vessel debris scattered about inner harbor and shore
  • Navigable waters status unknown; boaters should use extreme caution transiting the area
  • Significant damage to moorings and docks
Damage:
  • 10 vessels sunk
  • 8 vessels recovered
  • Estimated 100 vessels afloat but damaged. All floating vessels are secure
  • No injuries have been reported
Wildlife: No observed wildlife impacts at this time. Assessments will continue. Wildlife: No impacted wildlife at this time. Crews continue to monitor.
Crews deployed: U.S. Coast Guard, California Fish and Wildlife, Harbor District Personnel, NOAA, oil spill response organizations. Crews deployed: Coast Guard, California Fish and Wildlife, Harbor District Personnel

View this document online

USGS Site Family Master Site

Northern California Tsunami Incident Command


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03/16/2011

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA TSUNAMI UNIFIED COMMAND RESPONSE UPDATES FOR MARCH 16, 2011

Department of Homeland Security Coast Guard logo

DATE: March 16, 2011 4:00:50 PM PDT


SAN FRANCISCO - The Unified Command continues coordinated efforts in response to last week's tsunami impacts to Crescent City, Santa Cruz and other affected coastal areas.

Operational priorities for this response include:

  • Ensuring the safety of responders and the public
  • Assessing and mitigating potential pollution threats

The public is asked to follow local officials' directions and to stay away from the impacted coastal areas and harbors due to unstable conditions and debris hazards.

There are 153 responders on site for both Crescent City and Santa Cruz that includes personnel from the Coast Guard, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, Harbor District and oil spill response organizations. Landside and waterside safety zones remain in place for selected areas within the marinas of Crescent City and Santa Cruz for public safety. Boat owners must contact harbor masters for permission to access their vessels until the area has been deemed safe.

Aircraft from the Department of Fish and Wildlife continue to conduct daily aerial surveys along the California coastal region from the California/Oregon border to Monterey. Aerial surveys help locate damaged vessels and identify pollution impacts. While tsunami impacts are being addressed by responders and volunteers, the following useful information are being provided to the public for the following:

  • Oiled and impacted wildlife, contact the Oiled Wildlife Care Network: 877.823.6926
  • Pollution sightings, contact the National Response Center: 800.424.8802 or visit www.nrc.uscg.mil
  • Crescent City Harbormaster information: 707-464-6174 ext. 22
  • Santa Cruz Harbormaster information: (831) 475-6161
  • San Cruz Office of Emergency Services (831) 458-7109
  • Tsunami Relief Fund: (707) 465-1238 or (541) 412-6277

CRESCENT CITY TSUNAMI OPERATIONAL UPDATE

Media Contact:

California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Office of Spill Prevention and Response, Alexia Retallack, (916) 952-3317

U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Erik Swanson, (510) 289-5794

  • The sunken 30-foot commercial fishing vessel, Tamara, was removed. Sunken vessel recovery will continue as weather permits.
  • A survey vessel from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration is on-scene to perform assessment of the harbor sea floor using sonar technology. The assessment will determine the exact locations of navigational hazards, debris and shoal water so responders can act accordingly to restore the harbor and make it safe for mariners to transit.
  • Approximately 1,500-feet of hard and absorbent boom has been deployed to contain sources of sheen in the inner harbor and to mitigate harmful effects on the environment.
  • Conducting underwater assessments to confirm locations of sunken vessels. Two contracted dive teams have assisted in the response efforts. Divers assist in raising sunken vessels.
  • Significant amounts of debris have been secured along the west side of the harbor for removal and disposal.
  • In the next 24-48 hours, heavy equipment and excavators will be moving into the harbor area to begin debris removal operations. Our primary concern is the safety of the public and responders.

MEDIA ALERT: To gain access to the operations area, please be equipped with hardhat, reflective vest, steel-toed shoes and eye protection.

Damage:

  • 47 vessels afloat but with some level of damage
  • 16 known sunken vessels; assessments for additional sunken vessels ongoing
  • 1 recovered
  • 1 vessel grounded at mouth of Elk River
  • Large debris including rocks, logs, and vessel debris scattered about inner harbor and shore
  • Navigable waters status unknown; boaters should use extreme caution transiting the area
  • Significant damage to moorings and docks

Closures or restrictions:

  • Harbor access restricted for public safety
  • Harbor closed to the public at night, from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. until further notice
  • To prevent crabs and other seafood from being contaminated and unmarketable, commercial fisherman are advised of the following protocol:
    • Do not run circulation pumps on approach to Crescent City Harbor or within Crescent City Boat Harbor
    • Do not pull crab pots or other traps up through water if a visible sheen is present
  • Safety zone in place for Crescent Harbor; no movement without consent of the Coast Guard
  • Between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., C, D, E, and F docks are open to owners of vessels within the boomed area. For emergencies only, owners wishing to access their vessels outside of that time frame may contact the Coast Guard. Requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • Access restrictions to A-dock have been eased and personnel floatation devices are strongly advised.

Harbor operations: Crescent City Harbor asks affected boat owners to contact the harbor at 707-464-6174 ext. 22 to provide the following information:

  • Boat name
  • Official number/VIN
  • Fuel capacity
  • Actual fuel onboard
  • All contact information

Wildlife: No observed wildlife impacts at this time. Assessments will continue.

Crews deployed: U.S. Coast Guard, California Fish and Wildlife, Harbor District Personnel, NOAA, oil spill response organizations

Follow the event on Twitter at DFG_OSPR or https://calspillwatch.dfg.ca.gov/


SANTA CRUZ HARBOR OPERATIONAL UPDATE

Media contact:

California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Kyle Orr (916) 322-8958

U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Kevin Metcalf, (510) 409.9825

Damage:

  • 13 vessels sunk
  • 8 vessels recovered
  • Estimated 100 vessels afloat but damaged
  • No injuries have been reported

Closures or restrictions: Harbor access restricted for public safety

Wildlife: No impacted wildlife at this time. Crews continue to monitor.

Crews deployed: Coast Guard, California Fish and Wildlife, Harbor District Personnel


###

View this document online

USGS Site Family Master Site

Northern California Tsunami Incident Command


Visit this link to Unsubcribe



03/12/2011

Unified Command responds to tsunami damage

Department of Homeland Security Coast Guard logo

DATE: March 12, 2011 3:03:13 PM PST


SAN FRANCISCO - The Unified Command continues to respond to damage caused by the tsunami yesterday.

The Unified Command, consisting of the United States Coast Guard, California Department of Fish and Wildlife Office of Oil Spill Prevention and Response, and local harbor masters, has activated joint operation efforts in Crescent City and Santa Cruz harbors.

Operations include assessing damage to vessels and harbor infrastructure and monitoring pollution impacts. Public and worker safety is a top priority. The public is asked to follow local officials' directions and stay away from the impacted coastal areas and harbors due to unstable conditions and debris hazards. Safety zones have been established for Crescent City and Santa Cruz harbors, restricting mariners from the harbors and surrounding waterways. Boat owners should contact harbor masters for permission to access their vessels until the area has been deemed safe.

Three aerial surveys have been conducted along the northern California coastal region from the California/Oregon border to Monterey. Aerial surveys help locate damaged vessels and identify pollution impacts.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife has activated the Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN) to help monitor and recover oiled wildlife. The public is asked to not attempt to rescue oiled animals, but instead report them to OWCN at (877) 823-6926.

In addition, the public should report any pollution to the National Response Center at (800) 424-8802 or online at www.nrc.uscg.mil. The National Response Center is the federal point of contact for all oil and chemical spills.


CRESCENT CITY HARBOR RESPONSE FACT SHEET

Location: Crescent City Inner Basin Harbor, Crescent City, CA
Cause: Tsunami following 8.9 earthquake in Japan

Damage:

  • 17 vessels afloat, appear sound but need inspection to verify
  • 17 vessels damaged/obviously sunk
  • 9 vessels adrift or unknown
  • Several sunken vessels in harbor, exact locations unknown
  • Large debris including rocks, logs, and vessel debris scattered about inner harbor and shore
  • Riprap and harbor protection compromised
  • Navigable waters status unknown

Closures or restrictions: Harbor access restricted for public safety. The harbor will be closed to the public from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.

Wildlife: No impacted wildlife at this time, crews continue to monitor for them

Crews deployed: Coast Guard, California Fish and Wildlife, Harbor District Personnel

Information numbers:

Crescent City Harbor boat owners contact (707) 464-6174 ext. 22
Media contact (916) 952-3317 or (510) 289-5794


SANTA CRUZ HARBOR RESPONSE FACT SHEET

Location: Santa Cruz Harbor, Santa Cruz, CA

Cause: Tsunami following 8.9 earthquake in Japan

Damage:

  • 18 vessels capsized/sunk
  • Estimated 100 vessels afloat but damaged
  • No injuries have been reported
  • A light sheen has be reported at the north end of the harbor
  • Closures or restrictions: Harbor access restricted for public safety
  • Wildlife: No impacted wildlife at this time. Crews continue to monitor for them
  • Crews deployed: Coast Guard, California Fish and Wildlife, Harbor District Personnel

Information numbers:

Santa Cruz Harbor boat owners contact (831) 475-6161
San Cruz Office of Emergency Services (831) 458-7109
Media contact (415) 713-7224


View this document online

USCG District 11

US Coast Guard Northern California News

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03/11/2011

UPDATE 4: NORTHERN CALIFORNIA COAST GUARD UNITS RESPOND TO WEST COAST TSUNAMI CONDITIONS

Department of Homeland Security Coast Guard logo

Contact:  11th District Public Affairs
(510) 437-3325

March 11, 2011


ALAMEDA, Calif. – Imagery from today's aerial damage surveys are available by selecting the following links:

Coast Guard aerial damage survey video 1

Coast Guard aerial damage survey video 2

Coast Guard aerial damage survey video 3

Coast Guard aerial damage survey video 4


12/21/2010

Safety Alert from USCG concerning a Type I PFD



12/21/2010

Weather Alert, 12/21: San Diego Area:
Boaters urged to remember safety during hazardous weather




December 21, 2010



SAN DIEGO December 20, 2010 —The Coast Guard is urging mariners to exercise extreme caution through the next couple of days when venturing on or near the water due to a special weather statement the National Weather Service issued Monday morning, Dec. 20.

Heavy rainfall and strong winds are expected for San Diego County coastal areas beginning the afternoon of Monday Dec. 20 and continue until Wednesday Dec. 22.

The hazardous weather outlook issued this morning is in effect for shoreline areas and coastal waters from Laguna Niguel, Calif., south to the border of Mexico. These areas can expect heavy rain with the winds gusting up to 30 miles per hour on Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service. A flash flood watch has also been issued for a majority of the Southern California region and will be in effect from noon Monday to the afternoon of Wednesday.

Mariners are urged to check that all of their safety equipment is on board and in good condition before going underway. This includes a properly fitted personal flotation device for everyone aboard, navigation lights, distress signals and a fire extinguisher. Safety equipment requirements vary by size and type of vessel, for more information visit: http://www.uscgboating.org/.

In addition to required distress signals, boaters are strongly encouraged to have a VHF marine radio on board to monitor weather conditions, communicate with other mariners and call for help in the event of an emergency.

For the National Weather Service advisories, click the following link:

http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?zoneid=CAZ043&zflg=1



12/16/2010

Weather Alert, 12/16: Northern California:
Coast Guard, California
Department of Boating and Waterways, National Weather Service urge boaters to practice caution during heavy weather


Contact:  LTJG Laura Williams,
Laura.m.Williams@uscg.mil,
(415) 748-0112

December 16, 2010



SAN FRANCISCO—The Coast Guard, Department of Boating and Waterways (DBW), and the National Weather Service urge members of the public to exercise safe and responsible boating practices during the upcoming heavy weather this weekend.

High seas, strong winds and wide spread rain are predicted for Northern California starting Friday, continuing through the weekend and into the next week.

There will be strong southerly winds increasing throughout the day on Friday until they reach 20-30 kts with pockets of gale force winds reaching 40 kts Friday evening, said National Weather Service Marine Forecaster Charles Bell.

The waves of 5-8 feet will be from both the South and the North.  This will cause a confused sea state which can be extremely hazardous for any boater or swimmer.

Weather and wave forecasts should be checked prior to getting underway. Listen to the NOAA Weather Radio or go to http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/mtr for the latest updates.  Wave forecasts can also be found at http://www.dbw.ca.gov.

The Coast Guard and DBW strongly recommend that individuals avoid taking to the water during storm conditions.  If it is necessary to get underway, mariners are urged to check all of their safety equipment to ensure it is in good condition and working properly.

Vessel owners and operators are also encouraged to check the status of mooring and anchoring arrangements.  During strong winds and heavy seas, vessels can break free from moorings, often a result of worn lines, an insufficient numbers of lines, or an improperly sized anchor and/or anchor chain.  Adrift vessels pose severe hazards to nearby people and vessels as they are tossed about, and can also pose environmental risks as any fluids or chemicals aboard can spill or leak.  The Coast Guard and DBW urge vessel owners and operators to take extra precautions in anticipation of the forecasted storm system by addressing mooring safety and securing potential sources of marine pollution.

USCG Storm Center: www.uscg.mil/news/stormcenter

NOAA Marine Weather from Fort Bragg to Piedras Blancas, CA http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/mtr/

USCG Safe Boating: www.uscgboating.org

Wave forecasts and California boating laws: www.dbw.ca.gov



12/07/2010

Coast Guard, National Weather Service urge boaters to practice caution during heavy weather


Contact:  Sector San Francisco Public Affairs,
(415) 740-4364

December 7, 2010



SAN FRANCISCO—The Coast Guard and the National Weather Service caution members of the public in coastal locations in Northern California to exercise safe and responsible boating practices, and to keep beach safety guidelines in mind as high seas, moderate winds and rain are predicted to impact the San Francisco Bay Area, starting Wednesday and continuing into the weekend.

The swells will be out of the northwest while the winds will be out of the south creating mixed seas which can be especially dangerous.

“Large waves approaching California will produce hazardous conditions in the surf zone as the waves rapidly increase Tuesday night and peak on Wednesday,” said National Weather Service Meteorologist Christine Riley. “Waves of 12 to 15 feet from the northwest will create dangerous surf conditions and strong rip currents. Mariners should exercise caution.  Series of larger waves can surprise even the most experienced mariner and beachgoer causing disorientation, injury or even death.”

Please listen to the NOAA Weather Radio or go to http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/mtr for the latest updates.  The weather forecast should be checked prior to getting underway.

The Coast Guard reminds people to avoid going near low-lying beach and other coastal areas including jetties and rocky areas during heavy weather.  Large waves can quickly and unexpectedly sweep a person from these areas.  Even the strongest swimmers can be overtaken by the sea, especially when cold-water temperatures are factored in.

The Coast Guard strongly recommends that individuals avoid taking to the water during storm conditions.  If it is necessary to get underway, mariners are urged to check all of their safety equipment to ensure it is in good condition and working properly.

The Coast Guard also encourages all vessel owners and operators to check the status of mooring and anchoring arrangements.  The winds are forecasted to be out of the south.  During strong winds and heavy seas, vessels can break free from moorings, often a result of worn lines, an insufficient numbers of lines, or an improperly sized anchor and/or anchor chain.  Adrift vessels pose severe hazards to nearby people and vessels as they are tossed about, and can also pose environmental risks as any fluids or chemicals aboard can spill or leak.  The Coast Guard urges vessel owners and operators to take extra precautions in anticipation of the forecasted storm system by addressing mooring safety and securing potential sources of marine pollution.

USCG Storm Center: www.uscg.mil/news/stormcenter

NOAA Marine Weather from Fort Bragg to Piedras Blancas, CA http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/mtr/

USCG Safe Boating: www.uscgboating.org



11/24/2010

DBW Reminds Boaters to Boat Safely During the Off-Season


Contact:  Gloria Sandoval (916) 651-5692

November 24, 2010



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SACRAMENTO— The California Department of Boating and Waterways (DBW) reports that boating fatalities are more likely to occur during the off-season than the summer months. Last year, over half of boating fatalities in California occurred between October and April. Checking weather reports and wave conditions, not boating alone, wearing a life jacket, making sure vessels are appropriate for water conditions and filing a float plan are important precautions to ensure a safe voyage.

“Less congested waterways make boaters think they’re less likely to be involved in a deadly accident,” stated DBW’s Acting Director Lucia Becerra. “The reality is that boaters are at risk anytime safety precautions are ignored.”

Over 75 percent of boating fatalities in the 2009 off-season involved capsizing, boaters falling overboard or vessels flooding or swamping. The most common factors contributing to these fatal boating accidents include:

  • Not wearing a life jacket
  • Wearing heavy clothes
  • Boating alone, at night or in bad weather
  • Boat size or type is not appropriate for water conditions
  • Not paying attention to vessel’s position in the surf line

Taking adequate precaution starts with the simple use of a life jacket.  Many people mistakenly believe that knowing how to swim is enough protection from drowning in a boating accident.  Statistics reveal a different picture.  80 percent of people who drown in boating accidents know how to swim.  The most common reasons for drowning despite swimming ability are injury, cramps, poor health, panic and heavy clothes. Personal flotation devices are available in comfortable styles such as inflatable jackets. The flotation they provide can offset the drag of winter clothing.

For more information on life jackets or off-season boating tips, please visit www.BoatSmarter.com.



10/12/2010

Suisun Marsh Salinity Control Gates
Operations for 2010-2011



October 12, 2010


The California Department of Water Resources advises that it will operate the boat locks at the Salinity Control Structure, located 2.2 nautical miles from the easterly end of Montezuma Slough at coordinates, 38 05’36”N121 53’07”W, starting October 12, 2010 through May 31, 2011, contingent on hydrologic conditions.

From October 12, 2010, the flashboards will be in place across the maintenance channel, thus vessels can only pass through the boat lock.  A boat lock operator will be on duty every day from October 12 through May 31, or until further notice.

The boat lock signal is a standard traffic light.  Whistle signals to request opening are two prolonged blasts followed by two short blasts.  Channel 13 VHF-FM will be monitored during hours of operation.  Full instructions on passage including an emergency phone number are posted on site.

The boat lock is located on the east side of the channel and provides the following clearances: 16 feet horizontally; 9 feet over the sill at MLLW; 70 feet in length between sector gates; and no vertical impairment.  The piers will be marked by fixed red lights, and other parts of the structure by fixed yellow lights.

Mariners should be aware a shoal area exists along the east bank on both sides of the structure extending approximately 50 feet out from the existing levee.  Marker buoys have been placed to identify the area.  Mariners are also advised that the Salinity Control Structure operations can at times create currents at the site greater than currents in other areas of Montezuma Slough.



09/03/2010

Labor Day Boaters Urged to Remain Watchful for Quagga/Zebra Mussels

Contacts:

Gloria Sandoval, Department of Boating and Waterways, (916) 715-1657 (cell)
Troy Swauger, Department of Fish and Wildlife, (916) 322-8932
Roy Stearns, Department of Parks and Recreation, (916) 654-2270
Pete Weisser, Department of Water Resources, (916) 653-3350
Steve Lyle, Department of Food and Agriculture, (916) 654-0462
Gary Chancey, U.S. Forest Service, Region 5, (707) 562-9004

September 3, 2010


SACRAMENTO – California’s multi-agency invasive species taskforce cautions watercraft users this Labor Day to guard against spreading the aquatic Quagga and Zebra mussels to uncontaminated waters. Inspections will be conducted at launch sites on most major freshwater lakes. Watercraft and all equipment that comes into contact with the water must be clean, drained and dry.

The taskforce is comprised of California departments of Fish and Wildlife, Water Resources, Parks and Recreation, Boating and Waterways, and Food and Agriculture. Federal partners include U.S. Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation.

“The vigilance of boaters and watercraft owners has been the key in prohibiting the widespread invasion of these mussels into California,” said Susan Ellis, Department of Fish and Wildlife's statewide coordinator of invasive species. “Since 2007, no new population of mussels has been discovered that traces back to hitchhiking aboard watercraft or trailers. The state’s responsible boaters are commended for taking the steps necessary to prevent the spread of these mussels, averting the environmental and economic disaster these mussels can cause.”

The taskforce reminds boaters that moving watercraft is the primary threat of transporting the mussels. Anyone who accesses freshwater aquatic environments should take the following steps:

  • Inspect all exposed surfaces—small mussels feel like sandpaper to the touch
  • Wash the hull of each watercraft thoroughly; preferably with high pressure/hot water
  • Remove all plants and animal material
  • Drain all water and dry all areas
  • Drain and dry the lower outboard unit
  • Clean and dry all live-wells
  • Empty and dry any buckets
  • Dispose of all bait in the trash
  • Wait five days and keep watercraft dry between launches into different fresh waters

Boat owners who fail to follow the rules on inspections will be turned away. If the vessel carries the mussels, the owners risk quarantine. In August, a Southern California man was fined $5,000 by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s legal committee after ignoring boating rules designed to stop the spread of Quagga and other aquatic invasive species.

Quagga and Zebra mussels range from microscopic to the size of a fingernail. They are prolific breeders and attach themselves to hard and soft surfaces, such as boats and aquatic plants. They adversely affect boaters by:

  • Ruining engines by blocking the cooling system—causing the engine to overheat
  • Increasing drag across the bottom of the vessel, reducing speed and wasting fuel
  • Clogging and jamming a boat’s steering equipment
  • Requiring time and money for scraping and repainting of boat bottoms
  • And colonizing all underwater substrates such as boat ramps, docks, lines and other underwater surfaces requiring constant cleaning

The establishment of an invasive mussel population wreaks havoc with the environment, disrupting the natural food chain and releasing toxins that affect other species. Spread of the Quagga could result in millions of dollars in damage to water transport facilities.

These invasive mollusks were first detected in California in January 2007, in Lake Havasu on the Colorado River. Quagga mussels were discovered a few months later in water delivered by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the San Diego County Water Authority. Both systems draw from the Colorado River.

Thus far, the mussels have not been found in California's State Water Project (SWP), which draws from northern California watersheds. Environmental scientists are monitoring the system, the largest water and power system in the United States. The main risk of mussel introduction in the SWP is from boats carried by trailers.

For more information on the Quagga mussel response, visit the DFG webpage at www.dfg.ca.gov/invasives/quaggamussel



07/01/2010

DBW Urges Boaters to Boat Safely Over the Fourth of July Weekend


Contact:  Gloria Sandoval (916) 651-5692
cell (916) 715-1657

July 1, 2010



Videos
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SACRAMENTO - Boating accidents during the three summer holiday weekends represent between 15 to 20 percent of all accidents in a given year. This year five fatalities occurred during the week leading up to Memorial Day weekend. With the upcoming Fourth of July holiday, the Department of Boating and Waterways (DBW) urges boaters to boat safely.

"Waterways will be crowded this weekend with boaters who want to have fun with family and friends," stated DBW's Acting Director Lucia Becerra. "Unfortunately, this congestion along with rivers running faster and colder this summer and reservoir water levels being higher from previous years will lead to accidents, injuries and fatalities."

DBW wants boaters to remember certain boating safety tips to increase their chances of survival.

  • Prepare for the worst, wear a life jacket
    • Of the 49 boating fatalities in 2009, 53 percent drowned. Of that group, 73 percent were not wearing life jackets.
    • Life jackets can provide some thermal protection against the onset of hypothermia and keep you afloat until someone else can rescue you.
    • Knowing how to swim is one of the most common reasons given for not wearing a life jacket and gives boaters a false sense of security. Often the victim has a serious injury or is knocked unconscious and cannot swim.
    • Other factors that can affect swimming ability include cold water immersion, heavy clothes or alcohol consumption.
  • Know the water
    • Cold water can cause hyperventilation contributing to fatigue. When combined with swift water, even the strongest swimmers are easily overwhelmed.
    • Cold water can stimulate the "gasp reflex" causing involuntary inhalation of air or water.
    • Sudden cold water immersion can trigger cardiac arrest.
    • Cold water entering the ear canal can cause vertigo and disorientation. This may confuse the swimmer causing the victim to swim deeper into the water or into the propeller.
  • Know your limits
    • Swimming in open water is more difficult than in a swimming pool. People tire more quickly and can get into trouble.
    • Properly load your vessel.
    • Avoid alcohol consumption while boating. If you do consume alcohol, wear a life jacket.
    • Drinking alcohol can also accelerate the effects of hypothermia.

Boaters are also reminded of a new life jacket age requirement. Children under the age of 13 are now required to wear a life jacket when on a moving boat that's 26 feet in length or less.

For more information on boating safety, laws, or to order a boating safety course, please visit www.BoatSmarter.com or call (888) 326-2822. Remember, "If it's your boat, it's your responsibility."

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Reporting a Boating Accident in California
State law requires boaters involved in accidents to file a written report with DBW when a person dies, disappears or requires medical attention beyond first aid. A report is also required when an accident results in damage to a vessel or other property exceeding $500 or there is a complete loss of a vessel. Boaters can find a printable California Boating Accident Report form at www.dbw.ca.gov/PDF/AccidentForms/BAR.pdf.

About DBW
DBW promotes on-the-water safety and helps develop convenient public access to the waterways through programs funded by vessel registration fees, boating fuel tax dollars and boating facility construction loan payments.



04/21/2010

SPRING SNOWMELT PROMPTS WATER SAFETY WARNING
Outdoor Recreationists Should Take Precautions Against Cold Temperatures, Swift Currents When in or Near Water

Contact:  PG&E Media Relations (415) 973-8709
California Department of Boating and Waterways (916) 651-5692

April 21, 2010



SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The spring snowmelt has prompted a warning from Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and the California Department of Boating and Waterways (DBW) urging outdoor recreationists to take precautions against cold and swift currents before entering the water.

The utility and state agency cautioned that snowpacks are slightly above normal for this time of year. As warmer weather and longer days begins to melt snow in mountainous regions of the state, water temperatures will continue to drop and flows will continue to rise in waterways and reservoirs.

Those planning outings near mountain streams, rivers, reservoirs and canals need to be extra vigilant and take appropriate safety measures,” said Alvin Thoma, director of PG&E’s power generation department. “Water flows will fluctuate with the warming and cooling of the day so always be prepared for a change in conditions.” 

“Snowmelt and resulting swift and cold river flows can create treacherous conditions for all recreationists – waders, swimmers, paddlers, boaters, anglers and even hikers cooling off at the water’s edge,” said DBW’s Interim Director Lucia C. Becerra. “Stay safe by wearing a life jacket, avoiding alcohol and being aware of the current.”

Lakes and ponds are very attractive on warm spring days but are also cold. Rafters, kayakers, and canoeists should beware of fast river flows and cold water, and should exercise extreme caution by checking local conditions before undertaking their trip. Parents should also exercise caution with young children playing in or near the water.

Here are some safety tips:

Know the Water

  • Sudden immersion in ice-cold water can stimulate the “gasp reflex” causing an involuntary inhalation of air or water. It can even trigger cardiac arrest, temporary paralysis, hypothermia and drowning. When combined with swift water, even the strongest swimmers may be easily overwhelmed.
  • Cold water entering the ear canal can cause vertigo and disorientation. This may confuse swimmers, causing them to venture deeper into the water.

Know your limits

  • Swimming in open water is more difficult than in a swimming pool – people tire more quickly and can get into trouble.
  • Cold water causes impairment leading to fatalities. It reduces body heat 25-30 times faster than air does at the same temperature.
  • Many unseen obstacles can be lurking below the waters surface. Swift water can make these obstacles even more treacherous.

Wear a life jacket

  • Conditions change quickly in open water and even the best swimmers can misjudge the water and their skills when boating or swimming.  Wearing a life jacket can increase survival time.
  • A life jacket can provide some thermal protection against the onset of hypothermia and keep you stay afloat until someone else can rescue you.

Know the Law

  • A new boating law states that children under age 13 must wear a life jacket when on a vessel that is 26 feet or less in length.
  • Every person on board a personal watercraft (popularly known as “jet skis”) and any person being towed behind a vessel must wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
  • No person should ever operate any vessel or water ski or under the influence of drugs or with an alcohol level of .08 percent or more. 

About DBW
DBW enhances public access to California’s waterways and promotes on-the-water safety through programs funded by vessel registration fees, boating fuel tax dollars and boating facility construction loan payments. For more information, visit www.dbw.ca.gov.

About PG&E

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to 15 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit www.pge.com/about/.



01/17/2010

WEATHER ADVISORY: Coast Guard urges caution with strong storms forecasted


Contact:  Lt.j.g Jeremy Pichette (415) 399-3492

January 17, 2010


SAN FRANCISCO - The U.S. Coast Guard along with the California Department of Boating and Waterway is urging water enthusiasts and vessel owners to take appropriate safety precautions due to incoming storm systems.

Beginning today and spanning through Saturday, the California coast will experience significant rainfall accompanied with high winds and surf. Tuesday through Wednesday, a west to northwest swell will develop with seas reaching 25-feet. The National Weather Service has issued a high wind watch for Monday. Southeast winds are expected to pickup Monday, increasing to 20 to 45 miles per hour.

The Coast Guard encourages all boaters to check the status of mooring and anchor lines, and replace worn lines if necessary. Vessel owners should also double-up existing mooring lines. During strong winds and heavy seas, vessels can come loose from the pier or anchor due to worn lines.

Vessels adrift can become hazardous to nearby vessels as they are tossed about and can become hazards to navigation. These vessels can also pose environmental risk as any fluids or chemicals onboard can spill or leak should the vessel break apart.

The Coast Guard strongly 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 quickly be overtaken by the power of the sea, especially when the cold-water temperatures are factored in.

The Coast Guard also strongly recommends boaters avoid taking to the water over the next few days, until the seas subside.

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

There should be a personal flotation device onboard for each person, sized accordingly. 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 strongly recommends that all boaters file a float plan with a friend or family member on land, with an approximate time of return and location to which you will be heading. It is also recommended that you regularly check in with those who are aware of your plan, especially if your plan should change.

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 www.uscgboating.org.

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



01/12/2010

WEATHER ADVISORY: Coast Guard, National Weather Service urge caution with high surf forecasted


Contact:  Lt.j.g Jeremy Pichette (415) 399-3492

Petty Officer Pam Manns (510) 772-8865

January 12, 2010


 

SAN FRANCISCO - The U.S. Coast Guard is urging mariners and water enthusiast to exercise caution Tuesday through Thursday as the National Weather Service has issued a high surf warning from Point Reyes National Seashore south through the Big Sur coastline.

"Large waves approaching California will produce high surf at area beaches" said National Weather Service Meteorologist Tom Evans. "Waves over 20 feet will create dangerous surf conditions and very strong rip currents. Avoid the coast and do not enter the water during high surf conditions. Series of larger waves can surprise even the most experienced mariner and beachgoer causing disorientation or serious injury."

The Coast Guard has witnessed a recent increase to surfer related rescues within the Bay Area over the last several weeks. All water enthusiast are urged to exercise extreme caution and avoid taking to the water if at all possible.

The Coast Guard also strongly recommends boaters avoid taking to the water over the next few days or until the seas subside.

If it is necessary to get underway, mariners are urged to check all of their safety equipment to ensure it is in good condition and in proper working order.

All boats are required to have personal flotation devices onboard for each person, sized accordingly. 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 persons could be liable for any costs incurred as a result of search efforts.

The Coast Guard also strongly recommends that all boaters file a float plan with a friend or family member on land, with an approximate time of return and a planned route of travel. It is recommended that mariners regularly check in with those who are aware of the float plan, especially if the float plan changes.

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.

The Coast Guard also encourages all boaters to check the status of mooring and anchor lines, and replace worn lines if necessary. During strong winds and heavy seas, vessels can come loose from the pier or anchor due to worn lines, not having enough lines attached to the pier or having a heavy enough anchor.

Vessels adrift can become hazardous to nearby vessels as they are tossed about, and can become hazards to navigation once the storm has passed. These vessels can also pose environmental risk as any fluids or chemicals onboard can spill or leak should the vessel break apart.

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

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