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April 15, 2015

A Coast Guard Station Golden Gate crewmember observes weather conditions at Fort Baker, Calif., before his boat crew conducts training, Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014. The Coast Guard reminds beachgoers to stay aware of their surroundings, be cautious around rocks and to stay off of jetties. (Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Loumania Stewart)

SAN FRANCISCO— The Coast Guard is urging boaters, fishers, divers and beachgoers to exercise caution in and around the waters along the Northern and Central California Coast due to forecasted strong swells Friday through Saturday evening.

A long period northwest swell is anticipated to impact along the coast of the North Bay to include Point Reyes National Seashore, the San Francisco peninsula, northern Monterey Bay, southern Monterey Bay and Big Sur. This is expected to result in large breakers along the beaches with an increased risk of sneaker waves (those that are much greater in force and size compared to preceding waves) and rip currents.

“We want to do all we can to ensure that people are aware of the risks posed by the sea before danger strikes,” said Lt. Jared Hood, command duty officer at Coast Guard Sector San Francisco. “We stand ready to respond whenever anyone finds themselves in distress out on the water.”

Beachgoers are advised to remain extremely aware of the ocean conditions, remain well away from the edge of the water and off of exposed rocks and jetties. It is advised to always swim near a lifeguard and watch for sneaker waves; never turn you back on the ocean.

The Coast Guard offers the following safety tips on the water:

* Stay Informed - Be aware of weather conditions and monitor the progress and strength of storms through local television, radio and internet. Be aware that weather conditions can change quickly. Check the current and expected weather and water conditions before heading out.

*When recreating on the water, whether boating or involved in sports such as kayaking, paddle boarding, or kite and wind surfing, always have a working VHF-FM radio. Mobile phones may not be reliable on the water, and the Coast Guard has the ability to determine your general location when you call with a marine-band radio, which can affect a quick response when people are in distress.

*Wear life jackets while on the water. In 2013, 84 percent of boating-related drowning victims were not wearing life jackets.

*File a float plan with friends, family members or local marinas before heading out. A float plan should include contact information, the number of passengers, the vessel's destination and expected time of return.

*Do not boat under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances, because it can impair your judgment, vision, balance and coordination. Boat motion, vibration, engine noise, sun, wind and spray can accelerate impairment.

*Keep children informed of water safety. The Coast Guard encourages educating children on water safety. For more information on boating safety for kids, visit

* Divers should evaluate their own physical condition as well as that of their equipment, never dive alone, and be willing to cancel their diving plans and choose another activity if ocean conditions are too rough.

*Dog owners are also reminded to protect their pets from rough waves and not to attempt to rescue their dog from a surf zone. It is important to remember to keep calm and allow the dogs to swim out on their own. For more information on how to protect your pets, please visit

For more information on the current weather conditions please refer to the following links:

For information on rip current safety, follow this link: