Warnings, safety tips as CA's spiny lobster season approaches

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The Coast Guard and other agencies Friday are offering safety tips for the start of spiny lobster season in California.

The Coast Guard and other agencies Friday are offering safety tips for the start of spiny lobster season in California.

Local and federal agencies are issuing a warning saying you need to have the right equipment and emergency signaling devices before hunting the giant lobsters.

"We've had a lot of deaths in the past and many of those deaths are preventable," said Lt. Cmdr. Nathan Menefee of the U.S. Coast Guard, Los Angeles-Long Beach.

Officials say spiny lobster diving is no leisurely swim. Two years ago, 38-year-old Jeffrey Logandro, an experienced diver from Carlsbad, drowned on a Southern California lobster hunt with two friends.

"I think people probably get caught up in the excitement of catching the lobsters, and they forget the key safety things that they learned when they first started scuba diving," said diver Reed Gruver.

California rescue teams responded to four deaths in 2015 as well, and are now asking all divers to follow warnings.

They recommend to dive with someone else and leave details of the dive trip with someone on shore, just in case there's trouble. They also recommend choosing dives that match your fitness level.

In addition, know everything about the equipment and always return to the boat with sufficient air left in the tank.

"That's by far the biggest issue that we see with dive casualties is people running out of air," Menefee added.

Also, beware of strong currents.

There are rules and regulations, too. The Department of Fish and Wildlife says you need to make sure the lobsters caught -- by hand or with hoops nets -- are of legal size.

With hundreds expected to hit the water this weekend, officials say any divers with hesitations about their ability or condition of their gear should not get in the water.
Related Topics:
newswarningbeachescoast guardhuntingSan PedroLos AngelesSouthern California
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