Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mavericks: Coast Guard Bans Spectator Boats From Waves

Posted By on Thu, Feb 17, 2011 at 12:00 AM

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The U.S. Coast Guard has issued a special federal rule banning spectator boats from encroaching on giant waves during the annual Mavericks surfing  contest.

The new rule will let boats affiliated with the contest tow surfers toward big waves and cruise nearby in case contestants need rescuing. But onlookers must keep out of a 1,000-foot perimeter while the contest is on, according to the rule issued this week.


The question of how the Coast Guard would regulate watercraft at Mavericks has been debated among surfers since Jacob Trette was rescued by a tow-craft after nearly drowning under a 25-foot wave during the competition last month.

The new rule "helps the Coast Guard by removing some of the traffic," said agency spokesman Levi Read.

"We'll be close enough to assist when needed, so we can make  sure spectators are safe, surfers are safe, and those involved in the competition are safe," Read said.

Spectator safety became a concern at Mavericks a year ago when more than a dozen people were injured by a rogue wave that reached 40-feet inland, sending several people to the hospital with broken legs and arms. Contest officials, in cooperation with local agencies, banned spectators from vulnerable shore areas this year. The new Coast Guard rule takes that measure a step further, by banning lookie-loos from waves. Competition authorized boats, however, are all good.


"The vessels assisting the surfers, they're part of the competition, and they're aware of the conditions," Read said.

The rule's text follows:

DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY 

Coast Guard

33 CFR Part 100

[Docket No. USCG-2010-1093]

RIN 1625-AA08

Special Local Regulation; Mavericks Surf Competition, Half Moon

Bay, CA

AGENCY: Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION: Temporary final rule. 

----------------------------------------------------------------------- 
SUMMARY: The Coast Guard is establishing a temporary special local

regulation on certain navigable waters of Half Moon Bay in support of

the Mavericks Surf Competition. This special local regulation is

necessary to ensure the safety of participants and spectators during

the event. Entry into this zone is prohibited unless authorized by the

Captain of the Port San Francisco, CA.

DATES: This rule is effective from February 15, 2011 through February

28, 2011.

ADDRESSES: Documents indicated in this preamble as being available in

the docket are part of docket USCG-2010-1093 and are available online

by going to http://www.regulations.gov, inserting USCG-2010-1093 in the

``Keyword'' box, and then clicking ``Search.'' They are also available

for inspection or copying at the Docket Management Facility (M-30),

U.S. Department of Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room

W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9

a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: If you have questions on this

temporary rule, call Lieutenant Junior Grade Liezl Nicholas at (415)

399-7436, or e-mail D11-PF-MarineEvents@uscg.mil. If you have questions

on viewing the docket, call Renee V. Wright, Program Manager, Docket

Operations, telephone (202)366-9826.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Regulatory Information

The Coast Guard is issuing this temporary final rule without prior

notice and opportunity to comment pursuant to authority under section

4(a) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. 553(b)). This

provision authorizes an agency to issue a rule without prior notice and

opportunity to comment when the agency for good cause finds that those

procedures are ``impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public

interest.'' Under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), the Coast Guard finds that good

cause exists for not publishing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM)

with respect to this rule because immediate action is needed to provide

for the safety of life and property on navigable waters. Because of the

dangers posed by the surf conditions during the Mavericks Surf

Competition, the special local regulation is necessary to provide for

the safety of event participants, spectators, spectator craft, and

other vessels transiting the event area. For the safety concerns noted,

it is in the public interest to have these regulations in effect during

the event.

Under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), the Coast Guard finds that good cause

exists for making this rule effective less than 30 days after

publication in the Federal Register. Any delay in the effective date of

this rule would expose mariners to the dangers posed by the surf

conditions during the Mavericks Surf Competition.

Basis and Purpose

The Mavericks Surf Competition is a one day ``Big Wave'' surfing

competition consisting of the top 24 big wave surfers and only occurs

when 15-20 foot waves are sustained for over 24 hours and are combined

with mild easterly winds of no more than 5-10 knots. Because weather

conditions are integral to the occurrence of the Maverick Surf

Competition, the exact date of the event cannot be determined in

advance. The rock and reef ridges that make up the sea floor of the

Pillar Point area combined with just the right weather conditions

create the large waves that Mavericks is known for. Due to the

treacherous terrain and un-navigable areas surrounding Pillar Point,

the Coast Guard is establishing a special local regulation within a

1,000 yard radius of Pillar Point that restricts navigation near the

surf competition area and neighboring treacherous terrain and

identifies the safest area for spectator viewing on the water.

Discussion of Rule

The Coast Guard is establishing a special local regulation within a

1,000 yard radius of Pillar Point in Half Moon Bay. The Mavericks Surf

Competition will occur in the vicinity of Pillar Point in the navigable

waters of Half Moon Bay, and the spectator viewing area will be located

inside the following coordinates: 37[deg]29.265' N 122[deg]30.165' W,

37[deg]29.248' N 122[deg]29.978' W, and 37[deg]29.406' N

122[deg]30.081' W (NAD 83). Competitors, participating agencies (Coast

Guard, San Mateo Police Marine Patrol, Pillar Point Harbor Patrol, San

Mateo Fire Marine Patrol) and the public (to include but not restricted

to: Commercial sightseeing vessels, photographer platforms and

recreational boaters) will be given 48 hours notice prior to the start

of the one day competition. This action is necessary to ensure the

safety of participants and spectators during the event. During the

enforcement period, unauthorized persons (persons not classified as

spectators, participants or participating agencies) or vessels are

prohibited from transiting through, anchoring, blocking, or loitering

in the regulated area without permission of the Captain of the Port

(COTP) or their designated representative.

The effect of the temporary special local regulation will be to

regulate navigation in the vicinity of Pillar Point while the Mavericks

Surf Competition is taking place. Except for persons or vessels

authorized by the Coast Guard Patrol Commander (persons classified as

spectators, participants or participating agencies), no person or

vessel may transit within the bounds of the regulated area. These

regulations are needed to keep spectators and vessels a safe distance

away from the event participants and the un-navigable waters

surrounding Pillar Point and to ensure the safety of participants,

spectators, and transiting vessels.

The Coast Guard will enforce the temporary special local regulation

from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on a date to be determined. Notification of the

enforcement of the special local regulation will be provided to the

public via broadcast notice to mariners, as well as through advertising

on local media.

Regulatory Analyses

We developed this rule after considering numerous statutes and

executive orders related to rulemaking. Below we summarize our analyses

based on 13 of these statutes or executive orders.

Regulatory Planning and Review

This rule is not a significant regulatory action under section 3(f)

of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, and does not

require an assessment of potential costs and benefits under section

6(a)(3) of that Order. The Office of Management and

[[Page 8652]]

Budget has not reviewed it under that Order.

Although this rule regulates navigation in the waters encompassed

by the regulated area, the effect of this rule will not be significant.

The entities most likely to be affected are pleasure craft engaged in

recreational activities. In addition, the rule will only regulate

navigation for a limited time. Finally, the Public Broadcast Notice to

Mariners will notify the users of local waterway to ensure that the

regulated area will result in minimum impact.

Small Entities

Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612), we have

considered whether this rule would have a significant economic impact

on a substantial number of small entities. The term ``small entities''

comprises small businesses, not-for-profit organizations that are

independently owned and operated and are not dominant in their fields,

and governmental jurisdictions with populations of less than 50,000.

The Coast Guard certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that this rule will

not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small

entities.

This rule will affect the following entities, some of which may be

small entities: owners and operators of pleasure craft engaged in

recreational activities and sightseeing intending to transit the area

during the period of enforcement. This rule will not have a significant

economic impact on a substantial number of small entities for several

reasons: (i) This rule will encompass only a small portion of the

waterway for a limited period of time; (ii) vessel traffic can pass

safely around the area; (iii) vessels engaged in recreational

activities and sightseeing have ample space outside of the affected

areas of Half Moon Bay, CA to engage in these activities; and (iv) the

maritime public will be advised in advance of this regulated area via

Broadcast Notice to Mariners.



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