Article

Surfing And the Shutdown

How the U.S. government's closures can impact your surf life

| posted on October 09, 2013
The Hatteras Seashore at the Outer Banks, which has shut down with U.S. government. Photo: Lusk

Access to surf breaks along National Seashores, particularly on the East Coast, has been shutdown with the government. Photo: Lusk

The government entered into partial shutdown mode on Oct. 1, and whether it impacts you directly or not depends largely on where you work, where you live, and how you pay the bills. Surfers across the country have been affected in different ways by the shutdown, most immediately in the form of closures at federally-funded beaches. Some weather monitoring websites have also gone down, leaving a few swell forecast models in the dark. Here are the main ways in which the shutdown may influence your surf program.

  • NOAA and it’s website is shutdown, leaving some buoy data invisible to wave reporting services. NOAA is still monitoring the buoys, and is reporting the data on the National Data Buoy Center website, but any swell forecasting website that pulls directly from NOAA will be offline during the shutdown. Many automated radio weather radio reports are also offline.
  • Beaches along National Seashores are closed. This is restricted mainly to the east coast, which contains the vast majority of federally maintained beaches, but some beaches in Texas, Point Reyes National Seashore and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in the Bay Area, and even beaches along the Great Lakes are off limits during the shutdown. How “closed” these beaches are depends on how many officials are available to monitor beach access. In most cases just being on shuttered beaches is a ticket-able offense. Roads leading to the beaches and parking lots are closed, limiting access. There are also no lifeguards on duty, if that’s an issue for you.
  • The EPA won’t be performing routine water quality monitoring. The BEACH Act, a federal funds program administered by the EPA, sets the tone for state and local water quality monitoring at the nation’s beaches, and in many cases, the EPA is the only agency testing for water quality at all. Even at many beaches monitored by city, state, or county officials, the bulk of the testing funds come from the fed, so once local money dries up, those beaches won’t be tested either. Furthermore, once the shutdown is over, the EPA will have a backlog of cleanup sites to deal with, which may delay re-implementation of water quality testing.
  • U.S. passport processing offices may have to close. Planning an international surf trip real soon? Hope your passport’s all squared away. While the government will still technically be processing passport applications, many offices that handle issuing passports are in shuttered federal buildings, meaning huge delays in processing while the remaining offices cope with the overflow.
The official "NOAA Status Alert" from NOAA.gov.

The official “NOAA Status Alert” from NOAA.gov.

  • Dufus

    All swell forecasting sites ‘pull’ from NOAA including your Wavewatch model. Magicseaweed, Surfline and oh, yes, you. They are still online because the NOAA back end is very much alive and kicking, they’ve just shut down the front end. The data is still being collected.

    • http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lposz3cocr1qep8ay.gif gannysesh

      I was about to say this!

      Too bad about the water quality monitoring… especially because it’s raining in SoCal right now!!

  • Amy

    wow

  • Trevor Buchert

    Thats Jockey’s Ridge In NAGS Head, Not Shut Down

  • Eric

    As a small business person, who just suffered through 5 years of abominable business conditions, only to re-emerge into a good economy that is now being bludgeoned by this stalemate, I am livid. I had an over abundance of surf time, and too much time to check the waves, without any real need of NOAA data.

    Political alliances, and buoy effects or water testing aside, I will only vote for a Tea Party candidate if all the other candidates, from every other party, turn out to be serial killers

    • Paul

      Obama is killing this country not the Tea Party. Turn off CNN and educate yourself

      • Nathan

        The only thing killing this country are the growing hordes of ignorant selfish people with no link to the past, no thought for the future and no willingness to work together, compromise and create a better world.
        Open your mind to new ideas and have the mental capacity to think for yourself and learn from others or do us all a favor and take a long walk down a short pier.

      • Gel

        It shows you have no MEMORY! Remember that it was George Bush father and son who fucked the economy of this country going into several wars and when George Bush son left, he passed to Barrack Obama a bankrupt country. No wonder now for the first time in America history a woman is going to run the Federal Reserve bank, then people like you will come up later and say: Well it was a woman who fucked up the FED!

  • fil

    why not just shut down the government permanently and go without these things and taxes too?

  • http://www.cleanlinesurf.com/ Matt

    Serious bummer about passports being shut down if that’s the case. Surf reports are working up in Oregon though. :) Either way driving to check the surf isn’t so bad up here.

  • Mark

    Actually the EPA doesn’t do any beach water quality testing themselves, it’s all done at the state and local level. EPA simply sets the standards and provides a bit of money to help fund it, but Congress has been underfunding it for years. This is a key issue that Surfrider Foundation has been fighting for years http://www.surfrider.org/coastal-blog/entry/5825

  • Dane6384

    Thank the Tea Bags and Wing Nuts! Vote them out if you want to keep our Oceans clean and our country functioning!!

  • john

    Park Rangers are still on duty. We don’t need them anyway, but they are they just to keep you out. Its just a show to piss us off. No reason to actually not allow us to surf. So at Sandy Hook in NJ- there is no garbadge pick up ever, no lifeguards after labor day, yet Park police still working- so why is there no access to the water- even if we paddle in and never touch the sand?

  • Gel

    Paul, It shows you have no MEMORY! Remember that it was George Bush father and son who fucked the economy of this country going into several wars and when George Bush son left, he passed to Barrack Obama a bankrupt country. No wonder now for the first time in America history a woman is going to run the Federal Reserve bank, then people like you will come up later and say: Well it was a woman who fucked up the FED!

  • yjdjy

    wish theyd shut my breaks down. i know ways in…