Bay Area residents warned as king tides return

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) -- The National Weather Service was advising coastal Bay Area residents to be careful near the water this week because of king tides, which are expected to last from Tuesday morning through Thursday.

Roger Gass, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Monterey, said this will be the last king tide until next winter.

The tidal event was expected to peak on Wednesday and has led the weather service to issue a Coastal Flood Statement for coastal and Bay waterfronts.

Strong rip currents are also expected to occur at beaches during the low tide.

Forecasters are warning that water may inundate low-lying areas like waterfront sidewalks, coastal trails, roadways and parking lots. Sloughs and marshes in the region may also be affected.

Gass said the tides could also adversely impact boaters throughout the Bay Area.

"When we have these so-called king tides, we also have lower than normal tides during the low tides," Gass said. "There are cases where the water recedes a little more than usual that will actually cause boats to touch bottom when they're at the dock or whatnot."

Menlo Park Fire Protection District Chief Harold Schapelhouman, who oversees a water rescue crew, recently advised boaters to be especially careful to stay in the main channel during king tides to avoid running aground when the tide goes out.

"A lot of vessels get caught in places where they shouldn't have ever been," Schapelhouman said. "Even though the water goes higher, as soon as it starts to drop, they're stuck."

Schapelhouman has reminded boaters not to leave the dock without flotation devices for everyone on board and cold-weather survival gear in case boaters get stranded on the water overnight. Cellphones, satellite phones or marine radios are critical for establishing communications, which is the first step to getting rescued, he said.

GPS devices are also helpful, as boaters need to be aware of their location in order to relay that information to rescue crews, he said.