Coast Guard prepares for severe weather in Virginia and North Carolina

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – Coast Guard personnel in Virginia and North Carolina are preparing Wednesday for forecasted high winds and heavy seas.

For the safety of personnel and their boats, Virginia Station’s Milford Haven and Little Creek are currently unable to respond due to weather outside their boat’s operating standards.

Coast Guard crews aboard 25-foot rescue boats cannot respond if conditions exceed 25 knot winds and six-foot seas. Coast Guard aircrews aboard HC-130J Hercules aircraft cannot take-off if direct sustained crosswinds exceed 25 knots and MH-60J Jayhawk helicopter crews are restricted when gusts or sustained winds are in excess of 35 knots.

Coast Guard units along the coast are transmitting Safety Marine Information Broadcasts to notify mariners of the predicted severe weather.

The Coast Guard urges mariners to always:

  • Stay Informed – The public should be aware of weather conditions 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 life jackets 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 aboard 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 aboard their vessel to signal rescuers while in distress and emergency situations.
  • Keep a Global Positioning System or Electronic Position Indicating Radio Beacon 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 boats and others.

For maritime emergencies in Virginia, contact Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads at (757) 638-6641. For maritime emergencies in North Carolina, contact Coast Guard Sector North Carolina at (252) 247-4570.

Marine Safety Information Broadcasts can be found at HomePort.uscg.mil, click on Port Directory to view port conditions for different areas.

Weather information is available through the National Weather Service at www.NWS.noaa.gov

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