NEW YORK – U.S. Coast Guard cutters and more than a dozen small boats will relocate from their current stations to a safe haven, out of the expected path of Hurricane Irene Saturday morning.
The vessels, operating from Station Sandy Hook, N.J., Aids to Navigation Facility New York in Bayonne, N.J., Station New York on Staten Island, N.Y., and Station Kings Point on Long Island, N.Y., will leave their home ports for safe havens on the Hudson River.
The majority of the vessels will tie up at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point or in the vicinity of Newburg, N.Y.
The vessels will remain there until the worst impacts of Hurricane Irene have passed. By placing the Coast Guard vessels in a safe haven, Coast Guard ensures that the craft and their crews will be fully operational once conditions permit. If needed, they can then be used immediately for search and rescue operations in the Port of New York and New Jersey.
A second priority for boats and crews will be to aid in any necessary port recovery operations so that commerce in America’s third largest port can recommence as soon as possible.
“Moving our vessels is a prudent precaution, given the possible impact of Hurricane Irene,” said Captain Linda Fagan, Captain of the Port of New York and New Jersey. “Keeping our vessels from harm’s way ensures that they can return to action as soon as conditions permit.”
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. That is why boaters should heed to 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 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 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 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 Hurricane Irene 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 Irene’s progress and hurricane preparedness, please visit the National Hurricane Center’s web page at the following link http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/.
For information about hurricane preparedness visit http://www.ready.gov/america/beinformed/hurricanes.html.