If you're planning on going to a NorCal beach today or tomorrow, take care: The National Weather Service is warning everyone that things are going to be especially dicey up and down the coast these days.
According to the NWS alert, there's a high probability of sneaker waves, rip currents, and long shore currents for any beach between Sonoma and Monterey all day Friday and late into Saturday night.
The most dangerous spots will be "west and southwest facing beaches," like San Francisco's Ocean Beach and Stinson Beach in Marin, as well as Santa Cruz, Twin Lakes, Montara, Manresa, Marina, and Half Moon Bay beaches.
The NWS warns anyone taking a stroll along the beach to never turn your back on the sea, which sounds like just a cautionary figure of speech but isn't. And if you're fishing, don't do it from a pier or jetty, as waves could easily overtake either of those structures and suck you in.
If you absolutely must swim in the ocean (you be you, I guess) and find yourself caught in a rip current, do your best to keep your head and swim parallel to shore to escape the current before heading back to land.
Here's the full NWS alert. Sorry about the caps, that's just how they roll:
...BEACH HAZARDS STATEMENT REMAINS IN EFFECT THROUGH SATURDAY EVENING... * WAVES...BUILDING MIXED SWELL 3 TO 6 FEET WITH A LONG PERIOD OF 17 SECONDS. * HAZARDS...INCREASED RISK FOR RIP CURRENTS...LONG SHORE CURRENTS AND SNEAKER WAVES. * TIMING...EARLY FRIDAY MORNING AND CONTINUING INTO THE WEEKEND. * LOCATION...THE ENTIRE COASTLINE FROM THE SONOMA COAST THROUGH MONTEREY COAST IN PARTICULAR WEST AND SOUTHWEST FACING BEACHES...INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO...STINSON BEACH...SANTA CRUZ BOARDWALK BEACH...TWIN LAKES BEACH...OCEAN BEACH... MONTARA STATE BEACH...HALFMOON BAY STATE BEACH...MANRESA STATE BEACH AND MARINA STATE BEACH.
Instructions: A BEACH HAZARD STATEMENT FOR RIP CURRENTS MEANS THAT CONDITIONS ARE PRESENT TO SUPPORT A HEIGHTENED RISK OF STRONG RIP CURRENTS. RIP CURRENTS ARE TYPICALLY MORE FREQUENT AND STRONGER IN THE VICINITY OF JETTIES...INLETS...AND PIERS. SWIMMERS CAUGHT IN A RIP CURRENT SHOULD SWIM PARALLEL TO THE COAST TO ESCAPE THE RIP CURRENT BEFORE TRYING TO SWIM FOR SHORE. SWIMMERS SHOULD ALWAYS SWIM NEAR A LIFEGUARD. A BEACH HAZARD STATEMENT FOR SNEAKER WAVES MEANS THAT CONDITIONS ARE PRESENT TO SUPPORT A HEIGHTENED RISK OF UNSUSPECTING BEACH GOERS BEING SWEPT INTO THE SEA BY A WAVE. PEOPLE WALKING ALONG THE BEACH SHOULD NEVER TURN THEIR BACK TO THE SEA. FISHERMAN SHOULD AVOID FISHING FROM ROCKS OR JETTIES.
Coastal North Bay Including Point Reyes National Seashore
Northern Monterey Bay
San Fransisco Peninsula Coast
Southern Monterey Bay and Big Sur Coast