If you haven't already heard, the US federal government has been in "shutdown" mode since last Tuesday.  Around 800,000 federal employees have been furloughed, so they unfortunately won’t be seeing a paycheck until the mess is sorted out. With some services suspended and others up and running, it’s getting confusing trying to figure out how this might affect your ability to surf, bodysurf or handboard for the next few weeks. Fear not! Here’s a breakdown of how the government shutdown might affect the surf community around the country.

Beaches and Parks

Federal parks throughout the country have closed their gates and turned away thousands of visitors.  If visitors or campers were already staying before the shutdown began, they have been given 48 hours to leave the park.  This is a bummer if your favorite surf spot is located in one of these parks.  The Point Reyes National Seashore in Marin County, California is a surf hot spot, and includes North Beach, South Beach, Drakes Beach and Limantour Beach.  On the east coast, Biscayne National Park in Florida has been closed, as well as the 16 miles of beach included in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore in North Carolina.  Regardless, there are still some people getting out there and illegally enjoying the surf, according to the New York Times.  If you are brave enough to jump the gates, be careful!  Trespassing on these beaches could lead to an arrest. 

Tourism

California’s state beaches won’t see any closures, so guess we’re safe on this end! But thousands of unemployed government workers mean we will likely see an extra influx of weekday beachgoers to the already crowded coastlines. If you’re planning on heading to the beach for a surf session during the shutdown, plan for more crowds than usual. Tourism at national parks, however, is obviously getting hit hard. 

Weather

The National Weather Service is still up and running during the shutdown, and is continuing to send out important weather forecasts and warnings.  This also goes for the National Hurricane Center and it’s website, which are “being temporarily funded for the sake of safety” (The Sand Paper).  So don’t worry, you’ll still be able to get your daily surf forecasts and check out if any new incoming hurricanes are bringing in sick new swells.

Recovery efforts from Hurricane Sandy will unfortunately be halted, and it could not come at a worse time.  Dredging, beach replenishment and other necessary developments desperately need to be carried out before the approaching storm season this winter.

Marine Life

Any employees of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that aren’t part of the National Weather Service or the Hurricane Center have been furloughed. NOAA usually helps direct calls about stranded marine mammals.  This means that state governments now have to deal with stranded marine mammals all by themselves. The Huffington Post reports that there will be “minimal impact unless it goes into November,” which is when the North Atlantic whale calving season starts and it is more likely that the number of stranded marine mammals will increase.  If you’re heading out to the Atlantic to surf in the upcoming winter months, you might see more whales in need of some assistance if the shutdown hasn’t ended.    

So for the most part, us watermen and waterwomen can breathe easy knowing that the government shutdown hasn’t stopped us from doing what we love.  At least, for now…

If you haven’t already heard, the US federal government has been in “shutdown” mode since Tuesday. Around 800,000 federal employees have been furloughed, so they unfortunately won’t be seeing a paycheck until the mess is sorted out. With some services suspended and others up and running, it’s getting confusing trying to figure out how this might affect your ability to surf, bodysurf or handboard for the next few weeks. Fear not! Here’s a breakdown of how the government shutdown might affect the surf community around the country.

October 09, 2013

How Does the Government Shutdown Affect Your Surf?

If you haven't already heard, the US federal government has been in "shutdown" mode since last Tuesday.  Around 800,000 federal employees have been furloughed, so they unfortunately won’t be seeing a paycheck until the mess is sorted out. With some services suspended and others up and running, it’s getting confusing trying to figure out how this might affect your ability to surf, bodysurf or handboard for the next few weeks. Fear not! Here’s a breakdown of how the government shutdown might affect the surf community around the country.

Beaches and Parks

Federal parks throughout the country have closed their gates and turned away thousands of visitors.  If visitors or campers were already staying before the shutdown began, they have been given 48 hours to leave the park.  This is a bummer if your favorite surf spot is located in one of these parks.  The Point Reyes National Seashore in Marin County, California is a surf hot spot, and includes North Beach, South Beach, Drakes Beach and Limantour Beach.  On the east coast, Biscayne National Park in Florida has been closed, as well as the 16 miles of beach included in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore in North Carolina.  Regardless, there are still some people getting out there and illegally enjoying the surf, according to the New York Times.  If you are brave enough to jump the gates, be careful!  Trespassing on these beaches could lead to an arrest. 

Tourism

California’s state beaches won’t see any closures, so guess we’re safe on this end! But thousands of unemployed government workers mean we will likely see an extra influx of weekday beachgoers to the already crowded coastlines. If you’re planning on heading to the beach for a surf session during the shutdown, plan for more crowds than usual. Tourism at national parks, however, is obviously getting hit hard. 

Weather

The National Weather Service is still up and running during the shutdown, and is continuing to send out important weather forecasts and warnings.  This also goes for the National Hurricane Center and it’s website, which are “being temporarily funded for the sake of safety” (The Sand Paper).  So don’t worry, you’ll still be able to get your daily surf forecasts and check out if any new incoming hurricanes are bringing in sick new swells.

Recovery efforts from Hurricane Sandy will unfortunately be halted, and it could not come at a worse time.  Dredging, beach replenishment and other necessary developments desperately need to be carried out before the approaching storm season this winter.

Marine Life

Any employees of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that aren’t part of the National Weather Service or the Hurricane Center have been furloughed. NOAA usually helps direct calls about stranded marine mammals.  This means that state governments now have to deal with stranded marine mammals all by themselves. The Huffington Post reports that there will be “minimal impact unless it goes into November,” which is when the North Atlantic whale calving season starts and it is more likely that the number of stranded marine mammals will increase.  If you’re heading out to the Atlantic to surf in the upcoming winter months, you might see more whales in need of some assistance if the shutdown hasn’t ended.    

So for the most part, us watermen and waterwomen can breathe easy knowing that the government shutdown hasn’t stopped us from doing what we love.  At least, for now…

If you haven’t already heard, the US federal government has been in “shutdown” mode since Tuesday. Around 800,000 federal employees have been furloughed, so they unfortunately won’t be seeing a paycheck until the mess is sorted out. With some services suspended and others up and running, it’s getting confusing trying to figure out how this might affect your ability to surf, bodysurf or handboard for the next few weeks. Fear not! Here’s a breakdown of how the government shutdown might affect the surf community around the country.

Sarah Webb
Sarah Webb

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