Coast Guard continuing to monitor Tropical Storm Arthur, port conditions remain unchanged

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ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville, Florida, which oversees Coast Guard operations from Malabar, Florida to Kings Bay, Georgia, is continuing to monitor Tropical Storm Arthur and is asking mariners and vessel owners to take safety precautions appropriate for the forecasted weather conditions.

The commercial ports of Canaveral, Jacksonville and Fernandina remain at Hurricane Condition Four, the lowest condition possible now, which is automatically set for the duration of hurricane season.

When it comes to severe weather response and preparedness, the most important link in the chain is members of the boating community: boaters should get boats ready for the season, have a severe weather mooring plan and monitor channel 16 on marine VHF radio when on the water. Prior to planning a voyage, mariners should keep an eye on the weather, port conditions and other storm warnings.

The Coast Guard is always ready to respond. However, during the height of a storm rescue assistance may be unavailable, which is why boaters should heed weather warnings and take early action to stay safe.

Now is the time for boater owners who expect to be impacted by the storm to remove small vessels from the water and secure loose gear such as life jackets, flotation devices and other gear which could blow away during periods of high wind. For vessels too large to remove, owners should use extra fenders, even used tires, to protect boats; add additional mooring lines; secure all hatches; take down masts if possible and remove all loose items from the vessel. Tie down everything, inside and out. The Coast Guard also urges beach goers to exercise extreme caution as tropical storms often produce deadly rip currents.

It is not uncommon for Coast Guard rescue crews to be called out to search for a possible person in distress when a vessel breaks free of its mooring during a storm or a wayward lifejacket or other survival equipment is spotted floating in the water and it is unknown if someone is truly in distress as a result. Boaters who properly secure their vessels and equipment in advance of high winds and storm conditions help to avoid these unnecessary and costly searches.

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