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.