- Written by Terry Arthur
Beginning today, [Friday] surf is predicted to build 10 feet or greater in Guam, Rota, Tinian and Saipan.
A Small Craft Advisory for hazardous seas is also in effect for all the islands until Monday. Seas are anticipated to remain above 10 feet and winds are expected to remain in excess of 22 knots creating waves along affected reefs higher than normal, making it exceptionally dangerous for small vessels and swimmers. The National Weather Service recommends mariners operating small vessels should avoid navigating in these conditions.
Mariners should only travel if necessary and check the current and forecasted weather conditions prior to getting underway. These conditions are especially hazardous when entering or leaving harbors and near inlets and reef lines. Mariners should remain aware of changing conditions once on the water. Coast Guard Sector Guam advises mariners: if in doubt, don’t go out!
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. The Coast Guard reminds all mariners that channel 16 is the emergency channel and is monitored around-the-clock.
In addition, marinas and local boaters are reminded to check that boats in port are properly secured, bilge pumps are functional, and all loose items are removed from decks. Report any boats adrift, pollution or other maritime emergencies to the Coast Guard Sector Guam Command Center at 671-564-USCG.
Here are some tips for those who choose to go out on the water during the potentially heavy weather:
* Leave a float plan with a responsible individual who knows your intentions, location and who they should call if you do not return as scheduled.
* Wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket and set the example for your passengers or paddling partners.
* Be prepared for the shock of sudden immersion and the disabling effects of cold water. Plan for the worst: dress as though you are going to get wet and be cold.
* Maintain awareness on the water — be aware of activity around your vessel including changing weather, and always know your location.
* Don’t boat alone — boating alone is not recommended. Recreational paddlers canoeists and kayakers often travel with a single craft and one partner, or even solo, but it is recommended you canoe, kayak or boat with at least three people or two craft.
* Kayakers and paddlers are highly encouraged to use the Paddle Smart Identification Sticker. In situations where a craft is found without its paddler, this sticker permits the Coast Guard to quickly identify who to contact and determine whether they have an emergency rescue situation on their hands.
* Know your limitations — be honest with yourself and your companions. Your life and the lives of those in your party may depend on how everyone understands each other’s capabilities.
For safety equipment requirements based on the size and type of your vessel, visit: http://www.uscgboating.org/
For local National Weather Service advisories, visit: http://www.prh.noaa.gov/guam/