Coast Guard sets port hurricane Condition Zulu in Tampa Bay ports

Southeastern Coast Guard NewsTAMPA, Fla.  — Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg Captain of the Port set Port Condition Zulu at 9 a.m. Sunday closing the Port of Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Manatee in preparation for the approach of Tropical Storm Isaac.

We have coordinated very closely with our port partners to evaluate and mitigate the risks associated with gale force winds in Tampa Bay,” said Cmdr. Scott Calhoun, incident commander acting on behalf of the Captain of the Port to coordinate hurricane response efforts.  “We are fully prepared to respond to hurricane-related incidents and are heavily focused on quickly reopening the ports and waterways as safely possible.”

During Port Condition Zulu, sustained gale force winds are predicted within 12 hours. The ports will remain closed to all incoming and outgoing vessel traffic until otherwise directed by the Captain of the Port. Cruise ships, container vessels and tanker vessels due to arrive in the Port of Tampa have delayed their arrival until the ports and waterways can be assessed and safely reopened.

“We are aware of the impact and are closely monitoring Tropical Storm Isaac,” said Cmdr. Sean Ryan, the sector’s deputy commander.  “We urge mariners to monitor the weather and make safety their top priority.”

All intra-island ferries transiting ports under Port Condition Zulu must cease operations and be secured at their designated mooring facility.

Owners and operators of recreational vessels should follow the small craft advisories from the National Weather Service, and take necessary measures to safeguard the safety of their vessels.

Waterfront facilities and marinas are required to remove potential flying debris, hazardous materials and oil hazards from dockside areas.

This Port Condition also impacts bridge operations. Vessels with height restrictions should plan accordingly.

The Captain of the Port will provide updates via VHF-FM Channel 16 marine radio through Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg Broadcast Notice to Mariners.

The Coast Guard reminds the public to:

  • Stay off the water. Boaters should heed weather watches, warnings and small craft advisories.
  • Evacuate as necessary. If mandatory evacuations are set for an area, do so without delay. Coast Guard personnel and other emergency responders may not be able to evacuate those in danger during the storm.
  • Secure belongings. Owners of large boats are urged to move their vessels to inland marinas where they will be less vulnerable to breaking free of their moorings or damage. Trailerable boats should be pulled from the water and stored in a place that is not prone to flooding. Those who are leaving their boats in the water are reminded to secure life rings, lifejackets and small boats. If not secured properly, these items can break free .
  • Stay clear of beaches. Wave heights and currents typically increase before a storm makes landfall. Even the best swimmers can fall victim to the strong waves and rip currents caused by hurricanes. Swimmers should stay clear of beaches until local lifeguards and law enforcement officials determine the water is safe.
  • Be prepared. Area residents should be prepared by developing a family plan, creating a disaster supply kit, having a place to go, securing their home and having a plan for pets. Information can be found at the National Hurricane Center’s website.
  • Stay informed. The Coast Guard recommends monitoring VHF-FM channel 16 radio. As the storm approaches, the Coast Guard urges boaters to stay off the water.
  • Information can also be obtained by viewing the latest port updates on the Coast Guard’s Homeport site.
  • Please visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s website athttp://www.ready.gov/ for tips on preparation and planning for severe weather.


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