Coast Guard sets safety zone near Morro Bay Harbor

The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:

(LOS ANGELES) — The captain of the port will be enforcing a temporary safety zone in the vicinity of the Morro Bay Harbor entrance from Nov. 9-22.

The safety zone will remain in effect from 10 a.m., Nov. 9 to 6 p.m., Nov. 22, and will encompass all navigable waters from the surface to the sea floor near the inside and outside of the mouth of the Morro Bay Harbor entrance.

This action is necessary to reduce significant hazards subject to the vessels, the harbor and the public during periods of poor weather conditions. The Coast Guard will turn on the Morro Bay “rough bar warning light” to signify that rough bar conditions are taking place at the harbor’s entrance.

No vessel or person is permitted to operate in the temporary safety zone unless authorized by the captain of the port or her designated representative.

The safety zone will only be enforced when the captain of the port or her designated representative deems it necessary because of rough bar conditions and enforcement will cease immediately upon conditions returning to safe levels. The general boating public will be notified prior to the enforcement of the temporary safety zone via a broadcast notice to mariners.

Section 1232 of Title 33 U.S. Code (Ports and Waterways Safety Act) provides penalties for all persons in violation of this order:

Any person who is found by the secretary, after notice and an opportunity for a hearing, to have violated this chapter or a regulation issued hereunder shall be liable to the United States for a civil penalty, not to exceed $88,613 for each violation. Each day of a continuing violation shall constitute a separate violation.

The amount of such civil penalty shall be assessed by the secretary, or his designee by written notice. In determining the amount of such penalty, the secretary shall take into account the nature, circumstances, extent and gravity of the prohibited acts committed and, with respect to the violator, the degree of culpability, and history or prior offenses, ability to pay, and such other matters as justice may require.

Any person who willfully and knowing violates this chapter or any regulation issued hereunder commits a Class D felony.

Any vessel subject to the provisions of this chapter, which is used in violation of this chapter, or any regulations issued hereunder, shall be liable in rem any civil penalty assured pursuant to subsection (a) of this section and may be proceeded against the United States district court for any district in which such vessel may be found.

For more information, contact the Los Angeles-Long Beach command duty officer via VHF radio or at (310) 521-3801.

By Professional Mariner Staff