Coast Guard discourages boaters from transiting to ports affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria

The Coast Guard Cutter James serves as a command and control platform in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Sept. 26, 2017. The cutter's crew deployed to aid in Hurricane Maria response operations and the ship's communications capabilities are being used to help first responders coordinate efforts. (Coast Guard photo)

The Coast Guard Cutter James serves as a command and control platform in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Sept. 26, 2017.  (Coast Guard photo)

MIAMI — The Coast Guard is discouraging private boaters departing the continental United States from transiting to ports affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

While volunteers and aid are needed and welcomed, it is recommended that these efforts be coordinated through FEMA, who has requested volunteers to go through National Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster. Uncoordinated volunteer efforts can hinder the response and impede a challenging logistics situation on the ground in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“The outpouring of volunteers and desire to help our fellow Americans following Hurricanes Irama and Maria in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands is nothing short of inspiring,” said Capt. Ladonn Allen, chief of prevention for the Coast Guard Seventh District. “But we discourage people from entering affected ports, many of which are still littered with wreckage and debris, particularly outside the federally maintained channels. Individuals entering unfamiliar ports or attempting to bring supplies without coordinating through volunteer organizations that are working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and its partners are putting themselves in danger.”

National Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster is an association of organizations that mitigate and alleviate the impact of disasters, provide a forum promoting cooperation, communication, coordination and collaboration; and foster more effective delivery of services to communities affected by disaster. Find more information at www.nvoad.org.

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