A California spiny lobster. Photo via Wikimedia Commons
A California spiny lobster. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department warned boaters Thursday that hundreds of divers will be in coastal waters starting Saturday to catch California spiny lobsters.

The 2016 lobster season opens early Saturday morning, Oct. 1, and lifeguards will increase staffing to help state Fish and Wildlife wardens and respond to emergencies.

Lifeguards advise boaters to always have a lookout on the boat helping the operator avoid divers at night.

Lobster diving can be strenuous, and divers were advised to have a competent buddy with them and review emergency procedures.

“If you find yourself in distress, do not hesitate to ditch your weights, inflate your buoyancy compensator and signal for help,” lifeguard Lieutenant Andy Lerum said.

Lobsters may be taken only by hand or hoop nets. Divers fishing for lobsters must have a valid California fishing license, a spiny lobster report card and must carry a measuring gauge to ensure their lobsters are of legal size.

Daily limits are seven lobsters per person, and each lobster must be a minimum of 3.25 inches measured in a straight line on the mid-line of the back.

Lobster season runs through March 22 next year

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.