Coast Guard updates Gulf Cost port conditions as Tropical Storm Ida Approaches

NEW ORLEANS — Coast Guard Captains of the Port for New Orleans and Mobile, Ala., have set Port Conditions Yankee and Whiskey for their respective areas of responsibility as Tropical Storm Ida approaches landfall.

The entire port of New Orleans is set to under Port Condition Yankee. Harvey Canal, Algiers Canal and the Industrial Canal are not considered safe havens and all vessels must be cleared of these areas unless they have express permission from the Captain of the Port. For further information regarding Port Condition Yankee requirements, the Sector New Orleans Maritime Hurricane Contingency Port Plan can be found at http://homeport.uscg.mil/nola.

In Mobile, Ala., all waterways are under Port Condition Whiskey and mariners must take appropriate actions in preparation of Ida. More information and specific guidelines can be found at http://homeport.uscg.mil/mobile.

In an effort to ensure mariners are properly notified of impending severe weather, Coast Guard units have been broadcasting weather notices in three languages: English, Spanish and Vietnamese.

All Coast Guard small boat search and rescue capabilities in Venice and Grand Isle have been evacuated leaving limited search and rescue aircraft capabilities to cover these areas. No evacuations of Coast Guard units have been ordered in the Mobile, Ala., region at this time.

Port status conditions are established to provide the maritime community time to make preparations in order to minimize damage from heavy weather. Port Condition Whiskey maintains the port status open to all commercial traffic; however, all oceangoing vessels over 500 gross tons as well as oceangoing barges and their supporting tugs must report their intentions to either remain in port or depart. Condition Yankee is normally set when sustained gale force winds are expected to arrive at the port within 24 hours and final mooring arrangements for vessels remaining in port must be made. The next heightened port condition is Zulu, which is set when gale force winds are predicted to arrive within 12 hours. Captains of the Port may accelerate or delay setting these conditions as appropriate.

Here are a few tips to help mariners protect themselves, their families and their vessels:

  • Do not go out to sea in a recreational boat if you know a tropical storm is approaching.
  • Contact local marinas to ask for advice about securing your vessel.
  • Take action now. The effects of a tropical storm can be felt well in advance of the storm itself and can prevent the safe completion of preparations.
  • Check with local authorities before entering any storm-damaged area. Do not rush to your boat. Boaters should not place themselves in danger to get to a boat.
  • Do not try to reach your boat if it has been forced into the water and is surrounded by debris. Wait until authorities have made safe access available. Do not try to board a partially sunken boat; seek salvage assistance from a professional.

Storms move quickly and are unpredictable. You can always replace a boat; you cannot replace a life.

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