Coast Guard urges mariners to stay off the water for next 3 days due to expected heavy weather

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Coast Guard is urging boaters to stay off the water Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday due to the expected heavy weather including a risk of severe thunderstorms, with possible damaging winds in excess of 60 mph across northern Florida and southern Georgia.

Small craft are currently advised to exercise caution and a small craft advisory is expected to take effect early Wednesday and is expected to continue through Thursday.

The primary threat is expected to be damaging winds and a possible risk for tornados given the low-level wind shear.

The Coast Guard is also urging mariners to secure their vessels before the heavy weather arrives. Mariners should check the condition of the mooring lines, stow lose gear, ensure freeing ports are not obstructed, and verify operation of the vessel's automatic bilge pumps.

Any gear above deck should be properly stowed and secured. Loose gear or an unsecured boat could appear as a debris field and could trigger an unnecessary search by the Coast Guard.

“I urge all operators of small vessels to postpone any planned trips until the storm passes and the seas have subsided. The Coast Guard’s response to distress calls may be delayed during severe weather," said Cmdr. James McLaughlin, deputy commander, Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville. "Often times, air craft are grounded during the storm and our small boats can’t make best speed due to the building seas.”

A small craft advisory is issued by the National Weather Service when seas are expected to be greater than seven feet and sustained winds are between 20 and 33 knots for more than two hours.

Local, imediate weather information can be found at the follow link : http://www.srh.noaa.gov/jax/

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