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Coast Guard issues safety warning as massive waves hit the Central Coast

Posted at 11:10 PM, Dec 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-18 02:31:48-05

Dangerous surf is pounding the Central Coast and rough waves are prompting warnings to stay clear of the coastline.

“Today we’ve seen 20-foot breaks, sometimes higher than 20 feet, some exceeding 30-foot breaks,” said Cameron Katelnikoff, with the Morro Bay Coast Guard.

Massive waves brought dozens of people to Morro Rock to capture the moment and get an unexpected taste of salt water.

“You realize how powerful the ocean is,” said Natalie Rans, a Los Osos resident. “It’s like being at a waterfall because there’s so much water through here.”

Locals say it’s a sight they haven’t seen in years.

“This is quite a rare occurrence, I haven’t seen a swell this big since I was a grom,” said Erik Kardel, a surfer from San Luis Obispo.

“I think all the kids up there are like yay! This is terrifying!” said Rans.

But these waves aren’t child’s play. They’re capable of capsizing small boats.

“It’s pretty dangerous if you don’t know your limits. You could get sucked out in the bay or on the rocks and if you don’t have a buddy out there, you could get really hurt,” said Kardel.

“It poses a great threat to the small boat community and any other surfers that might be swept out with the ongoing tide,” Katelnikoff added.

Coast Guard and Harbor Patrol remain at a heightened state of awareness, keeping an hourly watch of conditions.

Officials with the Coast Guard ask anyone who plans to venture out to know the conditions before they go, take appropriate safety gear, and have a communication plan in place with someone.