Coast Guard sets port condition Yankee for Port of Jacksonville
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Effective 8 a.m. Saturday, the Coast Guard Captain of the Port (COTP) set port condition Yankee for the Port of Jacksonville due to the expectation of tropical-storm-force winds generated by Hurricane Isaias that may arrive within 24 hours.
All vessels greater than 300 gross tons must depart the port unless the COTP has approved a request to remain in port. Terminals and facilities must cease all cargo operations and secure handling of equipment within the next 12 hours. Bulk liquid terminals must ensure all transfer hoses and loading arms are drained, flanged and secured.
Sustained winds of near 80 mph are possible within 24 hours. Mariners are reminded there are no safe havens in these facilities, and ports are safest when the inventory of vessels are at a minimum. All ocean-going commercial vessels and ocean-going barges without approved applications to remain in port shall depart at this time.
Vessels desiring to remain in port must immediately contact the COTP to receive permission and are required to submit a safe mooring plan in writing. Vessels bound for Jacksonville ports unable to depart 24 hours prior to threatening winds making landfall are advised to seek an alternate destination.
Pleasure craft are advised to seek safe harbor. Port facilities are advised to review their heavy weather plans and take all necessary precautions to adequately prepare for the expected conditions. Mariners can view the latest port updates on the Coast Guard’s Homeport site.
If and when port condition Zulu is set, meaning sustained gale force winds are expected within 12 hours, vessel movement shall be restricted, and all movements must be approved by the COTP.
The Coast Guard is warning the public of these important safety messages:
- Stay off the water. The Coast Guard’s search and rescue capabilities degrade as storm conditions strengthen. This means help could be delayed. Boaters should heed weather watches, warnings and small craft advisories.
- Evacuate as necessary. If mandatory evacuations are set for an area, the public should evacuate without delay. Coast Guard personnel and other emergency responders may not be able to evacuate or rescue those in danger during the storm.
- Secure belongings. Owners of large boats are urged to move their vessels to inland marinas where they will be less vulnerable to breaking free of their moorings or to sustaining damage. Trailer-able boats should be pulled from the water and stored in a place not prone to flooding. Those who are leaving their boats in the water are reminded to remove EPIRBs and to secure life rings, lifejackets and small boats. These items, if not properly secured, can break free and require valuable search and rescue resources be diverted to ensure people are not in distress.
- Stay clear of beaches. Wave heights and currents typically increase before a storm makes landfall. Even the best swimmers can fall victim to the strong waves and rip currents caused by hurricanes. Swimmers should stay clear of beaches until local lifeguards and law enforcement officials say the water is safe.
- Be prepared. Area residents should be prepared by developing a family plan, creating a disaster supply kit, having a place to go, securing their home and having a plan for pets. Information can be found at the National Hurricane Center’s webpage.
- Stay informed. The public should monitor the progress and strength of the storm through local television, radio and Internet. Boaters can monitor its progress on VHF radio channel 16. Information can also be obtained on small craft advisories and warnings on VHF radio channel 16.
For information on Hurricane Isaias progress and hurricane preparedness, please visit the National Hurricane Center’s webpage.
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