The U.S. Coast Guard is discouraging spectators at the Mavericks Invitational Surf Contest from viewing the big wave competition from the water due to hazardous and unpredictable surf expected near Pillar Point on Sunday.
With waves between 15 and 20 feet high, changing surf conditions coupled with strong currents and shallow reef in the area create a dangerous situation for both spectators aboard boats and rescue teams, according to the Coast Guard.
Coast Guard officials will not establish a safe zone due to the impossible task of reliably predetermining safe waters during the competition. Crews will be conducting safety patrols and will be prepared to respond to any emergencies that arise.
Spectators who plan to view the competition from the water are reminded to exercise caution and remain aware of changing conditions on the water.
Before arriving at the competition, boaters should ensure that their vessel is appropriately designed, constructed and outfitted with the proper safety equipment for operation in an offshore environment.
Capt. Cynthia Stowe, commander of Coast Guard Sector San Francisco, said in a statement that she hopes spectators will choose to remain onshore due to the massive waves expected at the event.
"Those attempting to watch the event from the water do so at significant risk to themselves and rescue personnel," Stowe said.
For more information on safe boating practices and recommended safety equipment, spectators may visit uscgboating.org.