Coast Guard urges preparation for tropical storm conditions in Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands

7th Coast Guard District NewsSAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The U.S. Coast Guard is urging mariners, recreational boaters, swimmers, surfers and the general public Sunday to exercise good judgement and prepare for tropical storm conditions due to the passing of Tropical Storm Irene along the south coast of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“I strongly recommend that swimmers and recreational boaters avoid the ocean and that the general public stay away from shoreline rocks until the tropical storm passes and weather and surf conditions normalize throughout the area,” said Capt. Drew Pearson, Coast Guard Sector San Juan commander and Captain of the Port. “We will continue to monitor the heavy winds and seas along the islands to ensure the safety of the ports.”

Vessels and facility operators, recreational boaters, swimmers and people conducting activities in the ocean, should pay close attention and monitor this situation through updated National Weather Service advisories and take appropriate action to minimize the risks associated with these predicted conditions. http://www.weather.gov/ and http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/.

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. Marina operators are knowledgeable and can advise you on the best methods for securing your boat.

• 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.

The Coast Guard requests that the public not call Coast Guard facilities for weather information, but that they listen to weather broadcasts and track internet updates through: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/.

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