Coast Guard Sector Charleston ready for Hermine

CHARLESTON, SC. – The Coast Guard upgraded port conditions in Charleston Thursday to Port Condition YANKEE due to the expectation of Hurricane Hermine that may produce gale force winds within 24 hours.

Capt. Gary Tomasulo, Sector Charleston Captain of the Port, established Port Condition YANKEE for the ports of Charleston, Brunswick, Savannah, coastal South Carolina and coastal Georgia. Port conditions are a series of escalating measures put in place to keep vessels and ports safe. Vessels desiring to remain in port must immediately contact Coast Guard Sector Charleston at 843-740-7050 to receive permission and are required to submit a safe mooring plan in writing.

Ports, facilities and operators at the listed ports should anticipate the setting of Port Condition YANKEE.Pleasure craft are advised to seek safe harbor. Drawbridges may not be operating if sustained winds reach 25 mph or when an evacuation is in progress. Port facilities are advised to review their heavy weather plans and take all necessary precautions to adequately prepare for the expected conditions.

• 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 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 suffer damage. Trailerable boats should be pulled from the water and stored in a place that is not prone to flooding. Those who are leaving their boats in the water are reminded to secure EPIRBs, life rings, lifejackets and small boats. These items, if not secured properly, can break free and require valuable search and rescue resources to be diverted to ensure they are not actually people 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 develop a family plan, create a disaster supply kit, have a place to go, and prepare to secure their home and care for their 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 how to prepare your boat or trailer for a hurricane, please click here.

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