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.
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.
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITYCoast Guard
33 CFR Part 100
[Docket No. USCG-2010-1093]
Special Local Regulation; Mavericks Surf Competition, Half Moon
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.