Coast Guard Urges Mariners to Think Safety During Severe Weather

PORTSMOUTH, Va., – The Coast Guard urges mariners to exercise extreme caution when transiting coastal and inland waterways as severe weather passes through the mid-Atlantic region today.

A gale warning is currently in effect for the inland and coastal waters of Virginia and North Carolina with northeastern winds forecasted to reach 30-35 m.p.h.

The Coast Guard has saved or assisted 17 people since the severe weather system entered the mid-Atlantic region earlier this weekend.

To prepare for severe weather, the Coast Guard urges to always:

-Wear their life jackets on the water.
-Check their current and expected weather and water conditions before heading out.
-File a float plan with friends, family members and their local marina before heading out. The list should include the number of passengers onboard the vessel, their destination and expected time of return.
-Always have a working radio onboard their vessel as cell phone coverage varies from region to region.
-Carry marine flares onboard their vessels to signal rescuers in distress and emergency situations.
-Boat owners are encouraged to check their mooring lines to insure their vessels do not break free during the sever weather.

Mariners are reminded that drawbridges along the coast may deviate from normal operating procedures and are generally authorized to remain closed up to eight hours prior to the approach of gale force winds of 34 knots or greater.

The gale warning is in effect until tuesday.

For current and detailed weather information in your area, consult the National Oceanagraphic and Atmospheric Administration website. http://www.noaa.gov/

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