Sunday, April 20, 2014

 The Coast Guard and National Weather Service collaborated to develop an internet website dedicated to coastal boaters who use weather and Coast Guard observations to evaluate bar restrictions and conditions.

The site gives boaters a place to not only see the entrance or bar through updated camera images but also the Coast Guard’s evaluation of the bar conditions and any restrictions that may be in place.

“This is an excellent tool for the mariner", said Dan Shipman, Recreational Boating Safety Specialist for the 13th Coast Guard District in Seattle. "Mariners can use this report, as well as tidal and other weather information to evaluate sea conditions to assist them in making a decision on their safety and ability to cross a coastal bar.”

Prior to this effort mariners had to rely on getting this information via a recorded phone message, scheduled Notice to Mariners safety information broadcasts or through a low power AM radio broadcast on channel 1610 in the local harbor areas. Although these methods of notification will still be operated and maintained, the website allows boaters to get the information in virtually any location. The website also contains important links to other National Weather Service information.

Although this information is provided to help a mariner make sound decisions it is not a substitute for experience. The Coast Guard urges all mariners to take a boater education course and wear a Coast Guard approved lifejacket when crossing coastal river entrances.

Mariners can access the website at http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/pqr/marine/bars_mover.php.

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