TAMPA, Fla. — The Coast Guard opened all commercial ports along Florida’s west coast Friday following Hurricane Matthew.
Capt. Holly L. Najarian, Captain of the Port, opened the ports of Tampa, Big Bend, Bocca Grande, Bradenton, Cedar Key, Charlotte, East Bay, Egmont Key, Fort Myers Beach, Fowey Rocks, Hillsborough Bay, Manatee, Port Manatee, Port Sutton, Rattlesnake, Rockport, Sand Key, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, and Weedon Island.
“Vessel and facility operators are recommended to exercise caution before entering a storm-damaged area and should be alert for debris or pollution in the water while transiting,” said Lt. Cmdr. Brittany Poley, contingency planning force readiness chief at Sector St. Petersburg. “The public should heed all warnings including small craft advisories, marine safety broadcasts from emergency workers and safety officials. Although weather conditions may appear favorable, rip tides and high surf may continue to impact beaches and inlets and sea state may remain high.”
Mariners should not completely rely on the position of the aids after a storm, until Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Teams and cutters are able to verify and reposition them. Navigational aids may be moved or destroyed by heavy weather. Mariners are asked to report any sightings of such to the Coast Guard or local emergency agencies. All methods for determining position should be used following a storm to ensure safety.