Coast Guard Warns Of Increase In Dangerous Storm Debris In Bay

TREASURE ISLAND (CBS SF) — The U.S. Coast Guard is issuing a warning for boaters to be on the lookout for debris from recent storms creating hazardous conditions in San Francisco Bay.

While much of the junk that is flowing into the Bay is harmless, bigger logs or debris from boat wreckage can do real damage. And, because debris is right at the water level, it is hard for boaters to see.

The shore of Yerba Buena Island displays some of the different kinds of junk now floating in the Bay.

“It’s become an issue with the higher water levels, the increased rains, the faster currents,” said US Coast Guard Lt. Megan Mervar.

The debris travelling here from rain-swollen rivers through channels like the Carquinez Strait into the bay.

“As that water level rises it starts to pick up things from houses and farms and places that are not normally touched by the water,” said William Staneart, Chief Marine Science Technician with the USCG.

The debris, both natural and manmade, could do serious damage to all sizes of boats in the water, punching holes into hulls or breaking navigational equipment.

It can also break boats free from their docks, making those vessels ocean debris as well and prompting unnecessary search-and-rescue operations.

“We want to make sure that the owners are OK, that there’s not this vessel that just kind of lost propulsion and we don’t know anything about the owner,” said Staneart.

The Coast Guard is asking boaters to put their names and contact information on their vessels and to secure them tightly to the dock.

The Coast Guard is also requesting that people report any large pieces of debris seen floating in the Bay that might pose a risk to boats.

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