Coast Guard warns boaters, swimmers of weather

Reminder to secure vessel and gear

ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. - The Coast Guard is urging boaters to exercise caution on the water and to take early action to make sure their vessels and gear are safe in advance of high winds.

A National Weather Service report predicts a strong cold front will push into the area, bringing gusty north winds between 15 to 25 mph with gusts 25 to 35 mph over land throughout Wednesday morning.

Seas are forecast to be between 12 to 16 feet with strong rip currents Wednesday.

The Coast Guard is asking boaters to avoid traveling offshore. Swimmers are urged to stay clear of beaches. 

Coast Guard member Anthony Soto said it is a good idea to wait until the storm has passed.

"If anybody is planning on coming to the beach today, this weather report is predicting moderate to strong rip currents to be developing between the near shore areas between today and tomorrow," said Soto. "So if any body was planning on going swimming, we highly advise against it at least until this system has passed."

Mariners are also advised to secure vessels and to ensure all gear, including life jackets, life rafts, ring buoys, or other objects that could be carried off by high winds, are properly stowed or tied down to prevent flying debris. Reports of unattended boats and gear adrift often result in unnecessary searches by the Coast Guard.

"Well often times, reports of unattended vessels or vessels that gotten loosened can result in unnecessary searches. So that will mean that we will launch our boats and our air crafts if necessary, putting our crews at an unnecessary risk," said Soto. "That's why we're asking mariners to please take the precautions to make sure that their vessels are properly tied up and make sure that any loose equipment is tied up."

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