JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Coast Guard Captain of the Port set Port Hurricane Condition YANKEE Thursday for the ports of Charleston, Brunswick, Savannah, coastal South Carolina and coastal Georgia at 1:11 p.m.
Gale-force winds from Hurricane Hermine threaten to impact the Charleston, Brunswick and Savannah areas within 24 hours.
As Hurricane Hermine nears northeast 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 Hermine.
At the present time, the Coast Guard further anticipates the setting of Port Hurricane Condition ZULU early Friday, recognizing that this timeline may change.
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.
A 12-hour alert has been issued for Hurricane Hermine at 1:11 p.m. At this time, waterfront facilities should continue removing potential flying debris, hazardous materials and oil pollution hazards from dockside areas. Coast Guard Captains of the Port may require additional precautions to ensure the safety of the port and waterways.
Mariners can view the latest port updates for Charleston and surrounding areas on the Coast Guard’s Homeport site.
Preparation/Vessels in the storm:
Assistance from Coast Guard and other rescue crews may be severely degraded or unavailable immediately before, during or after a storm. Mariners are urged not to, “ride out,” a hurricane at sea. Owners of smaller pleasure craft are urged to seek a safe haven for their boat prior to the approach of Hermine. 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.
“Mariners who make the ill-advised decision to ride out the storm jeopardize the safety of their vessel, the passengers and their own lives,” said Lt. Cmdr. Shannon Scaff, of Sector Charleston. “Please heed the warnings of public emergency officials and make sound decisions to ensure your safety, the safety of your family and the safety of emergency workers.”