Coast Guard emphasizes safety as Sandy approaches Northeast

Coast Guard emphasizes safety as Sandy approaches Northeast

Hurricane Sandy guidelines for mariners and others

Coast Guardsmen at the Chatham lighthouse on Sunday boarded up the windows. Pat Brooks photo.
Coast Guard boats lashed safely at Chatham Fish Pier today. Pat Brooks photo.
Local television programs were interrupted by this notice warning Cape Codder of coastal flooding.
The U.S. Coast Guard says in this release that based on the current forecast track of Hurricane Sandy, heavy rainfall, gusty winds, and dangerous surf will affect the Northeast this week.

The Coast Guard is advising boaters to prepare now and carefully monitor the hurricane’s progress.

Stay informed - The public should monitor the progress and strength of Sandy through local television, radio, and internet. The National Weather Service broadcasts marine weather forecasts and current storm advisories regularly at www.nws.noaa.gov. 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. 

Secure your vessel - Owners are urged to move their vessel to a protected mooring or haul-out location well in advance of the storm. Mariners are reminded that drawbridges along the coast may deviate from normal operating procedures prior to a storm.  Drawbridges are generally authorized to remain closed up to eight hours prior to the approach of gale-force winds of 34 knots or greater, and whenever an evacuation is ordered. If owners decide to keep vessels in the water they should double-check their heavy weather moorings. 

Never stay with your boat - Your boat should be stripped of anything that can become loose during the storm. These items include life jackets, life rings and canopies. This also includes unstepping the mast in sailboats. Boat documents, radios and other valuables should also be removed prior to the storm.

Be cautious of hazardous materials - If you have hazardous materials on your boat, you are responsible for any spills that may occur. Take the necessary precautions to secure them prior to any heavy weather.

Basic boating safety practices: 

  • Always wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket.
  • Have a VHF radio since cell phone services are unreliable off shore.  
  • Never boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Be aware of weather and water conditions.
  • File a float plan to let others know where you are going.
  • Be cautious – do not exceed your ability to handle your vessel, and be constantly aware of other vessels.
  • Observe safety and security zones while on the water.

Source: United States Coast Guard.

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