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They get into trouble in bad weather, the owner is rescued but the yacht ends up being swept out to sea, never to be recovered, Mr Ebbesmeyer said.
There is also a North Atlantic and Indian Ocean garbage patch.'The material that is actually blown in will be a fraction' of the tsunami debris, said Curt Peterson, a coastal oceanographer and professor of in the geology department at Portland State University in Oregon.
The warnings cover an area stretching along the entire western coast and Canada from the Mexican border to Chignik Bay in Alaska, where a dozen small communities along the Aleutian Island chain were also on alert.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, an emergency warning system announcement for a tsunami warning was broadcast just after 1am PST.
A lower-level advisory was issued for the Southern California coast south of Point Concepcion, which includes southern San Luis Obispo County and the counties of Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego.
'All this debris will find a way to reach the West Coast or stop in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch,' a swirling mass of concentrated marine litter in the Pacific Ocean, said Luca Centurioni, a researcher at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego.
The West Coast of America has been placed under tsunami watch following the devastating 8.9 magnitude earthquake in Japan.