Coast Guard offers safety tips for beachgoers

Weather related cautions for large swaths of the Northern and Central California coast prompted the U.S. Coast Guard Wednesday to remind mariners and beachgoers of basic water safety tips.

The National Weather Service issued small craft advisories for the area from Cape Mendocino to Point Arena along the north coast and the area from Point Pinos to Point Piedras Blancas along the central coast.

Winds are expected to be anywhere from 10 to 35 mph and ocean swells from 11 to 17 feet in those areas through Monday.

Boaters should check current weather conditions before leaving the dock and leave a plan with family or friends that describes the boat, how many passengers are on it, where it is going and when it’s expected to return, according to the Coast Guard.

Boaters are also urged to wear life jackets, have a working marine-band radio onboard and use VHF-FM channel 16 in the event of an emergency.

The National Weather Service also issued a beach hazard warning for today for the area from Point Reyes to Big Sur due to expected waves of 11 to 13 feet.

These waves are capable of forming strong rip currents, large shore breaks and deadly sneaker waves, which can drag unsuspecting beachgoers into the ocean even when the surrounding waters seem relatively calm.

The Coast Guard is reminding people to stay away from low-lying beaches, jetties and rocky areas during heavy weather.

Additional weather information can be found at the National Weather Service website at www.wrh.noaa.gov.