Coast Guard issues small craft warning

PORSTMOUTH, Va. – Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads watchstanders are notifying mariners Monday that they should seek safe harbor immediately due to severe weather.

The National Weather Service issued a Special Marine Warning that extends 40 miles offshore with winds in excess of 34 knots. Mariners in the Chesapeake Bay and on the Eastern Shore are advised to seek safe anchorage until the storm passes due to gusty winds, high waves, dangerous lightning, small hail and heavy rains.

The Coast Guard urges mariners to always:

* Stay Informed – The public should be aware of weather condition and monitor the progress and strength of the storm through local television, radio and internet. Boaters can monitor its progress on VHF channel 16.
* Check the current and expected weather and water conditions before heading out, and be aware that weather conditions can quickly change.
* Wear their lifejackets while on the water.
* File a float plan with friends, family members and their local marina before heading out. The list should include the number of passengers onboard the vessel, their destination and expected time of return.
* Always have a working radio onboard their vessel as cell phone coverage varies from region to region.
* Carry marine flares onboard their vessel to signal rescuers in distress and emergency situations.
* Keep a Global Positioning System or Electronic Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) so that they may be easier to locate in the event of distress.
* Secure your belongings – Owners of recreational boats are urged to take appropriate precautions to prevent damage to their and others’ vessels.

“Boaters should seek safe harbor immediately until the storm passes,” said Chief Steve Munger, a watchstander at Sector Hampton Roads. “If still in port, mariners should consider delaying their trip until the storms have passed.”

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