Coast Guard Sets Port Condition YANKEE For The Ports Of Tampa, St. Petersburg And Manatee

TAMPA, Fla. – The U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port has set Port Hurricane Condition YANKEE for the ports of Tampa, St. Petersburg and Manatee. Gale-force winds from Tropical Storm Fay threatens to impact the Tampa Bay area within 24 hours. (Gale-force winds 32-63 mph).

As Tropical Storm Fay nears West Florida, the Coast Guard urges recreational and commercial mariners to prepare now. Boaters are urged to move boats from the projected path of the storm to ensure their safety and the safety of their vessels. Both recreational and commercial mariners should be aware of the following measures that may take place before the arrival of Tropical Storm Fay.

Bridges:

Drawbridges will be closed and locked in the down position within eight hours prior to the arrival of gale-force winds.

Closed: A bridge closure means the bridge will remain in the down position unless there is an emergency situation, such as a vessel removing hazardous cargo away from an area a storm is anticipated to affect.

Locked: Once a bridge is locked, it will not be opened until bridge crews are able to return after the storm passes. Crews may not be able to immediately return to a bridge or may not be able to re-open it depending on available access to the bridge, damage to the area and power outages.

Ports:

A 24-hour alert has been issued for Tropical Storm Fay at 10 a.m. Aug. 18. At this time, waterfront facilities should continue removing potential flying debris, hazardous materials and oil pollution hazards from dockside areas. The Coast Guard Captain of the Port may require additional precautions to ensure the safety of the port and waterways.

Preparation/Vessels in the storm:

Assistance from Coast Guard and other crews may be severely degraded or unavailable immediately before, during or after a storm. Mariners are urged not to “ride out,” a hurricane or tropical storm at sea. Owners of smaller pleasure craft are urged to seek a safe haven for their boat prior to the approach of Tropical Storm Fay. The only anchorages allowed in Tampa Bay are only for vessels waiting to load or unload explosives. If unable to avoid the storm, mariners should ensure they are wearing lifejackets and know how to activate distress signaling devices.

After a storm:

Navigational aids may be moved or destroyed by heavy weather. 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. All methods for determining position should be used following a storm to ensure safety.

Mariners should also check with local authorities before entering a storm-damaged area and should be alert for debris or pollution in the water while transiting damaged areas after a storm and report any sightings of such to the Coast Guard or local emergency agencies.

At the present time, the U.S. Coast Guard further anticipates the setting of Port Hurricane Condition ZULU on or about 10 p.m. Aug. 18, recognizing that this timeline may change.

For additional information please call Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg at 727-824-7506.

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