Clearwater Coast Guard prepares for Hurricane Irma

Coast Guard pilots aboard an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter at Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater prepare to evacuate Friday, Sept. 8, 2017 in preparation for Hurricane Irma. The Coast Guard reminds all mariners that rescue and assistance may be severely degraded or unavailable immediately before, during and after a devastating storm. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Michael De Nyse)

Coast Guard pilots aboard an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter at Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater prepare to evacuate Friday, Sept. 8, 2017 in preparation for Hurricane Irma.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Michael De Nyse)

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater pre-staged personnel and aircraft to New Orleans Friday in preparation for potential Hurricane Irma impacts in the region, and urges mariners to also prepare before the storm.

The air station pre-staged flight crews, eight helicopters and four aircraft to New Orleans to ensure rapid deployment of resources after the storm passes the Clearwater area and it’s safe for Coast Guard crews to respond.

“After challenging work in Houston we are now focused on Hurricane Irma,” said Capt. Edward Sandlin, commanding officer of the air station. “Clearwater C-130 crews have already evacuated personnel in the Caribbean and two MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters with crews have been repositioned for quick response. We have been monitoring the storm’s movement closely and repositioned assets as required to initiate the most effective response possible.”

As Coast Guard crews make preparations, we ask mariners heed evacuation orders and follow a few tips tips to help mariners protect themselves, their families and their vessels:

• Do not go out to sea in a recreational boat if you know a tropical storm or hurricane is approaching.

• Contact local marinas to ask for advice about securing your vessel. Marina operators are knowledgeable and can advise you on the best methods for securing your boat.

• Take action now. The effects of a tropical storm/hurricane can be felt well in advance of the storm itself and can prevent the safe completion of preparations.

• Check with local authorities before entering any storm-damaged area. Do not rush to your boat. Boaters should not place themselves in danger to get to a boat.

• Do not try to reach your boat if it has been forced into the water and is surrounded by debris. Wait until authorities have made safe access available. Do not try to board a partially sunken boat; seek salvage assistance from a professional.

• Storms move quickly and are unpredictable. You can always replace a boat; you cannot replace a life.

The Coast Guard requests that the public not call Coast Guard facilities for weather information, but to listen to weather broadcasts.

Information on how to prepare your boat or trailer for a hurricane can be found at the Coast Guard Storm Center webpage.

For information on Hurricane Irma’s progress and hurricane preparedness, please visit the National Hurricane Center‘s webpage.

For imagery and video of the Hurricane Irma response, please visit our Flicker page.


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