Coast Guard: Be Alert for 'Sneaker Waves' Along North Coast

Dec 26, 2013 3:24 PM

SAN FRANCISCO - The Coast Guard is warning boaters and beach-goers along the Northern California coast, from the Oregon-California border to San Luis Obispo, to use caution in coastal areas due to an increase in rip currents and possible “sneaker waves.”

Rough seas and sneaker waves can catch people by surprise, with deadly consequences. These large swells can create strong rip currents at many beaches, resulting in moderate to large surf at reefs and sand bars, and potential sneaker waves at steeper beaches.

People walking along the beach should not turn their backs to the ocean. Families and dog owners should protect themselves and their loved ones from surf zones and avoid low-lying areas. Fishermen should avoid fishing from rocks and jetties. Pet owners are reminded that dogs are much naturally better swimmers than their owners; do not chase into the surf after your pet. Walk parallel to the shore, shouting and waving your arms in order to make sure the animal can see you.

Boaters always should check the weather before getting underway, and ensure that their safety gear is up to date and in good working condition. Basic safety items include properly fitting lifejackets for everyone aboard, a sufficient number of flares, a working marine band radio and an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon.

The Coast Guard encourages all boaters to file float plans with friends or family. A good float plan includes a description of the vessel, names of the crew, a list of safety equipment on board the vessel, the estimated time of arrival at the fishing grounds and the ultimate destination of the excursion. The Coast Guard does not monitor float plans. Boaters should leave the float plan with a reliable person who can be depended upon to notify the Coast Guard in case the boater does not return as scheduled.


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