Mariners urged to exercise caution during heavy weather

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – Due to the onset of heavy weather and gale force wind advisories in the region, the Coast Guard urges boaters today to stay off the water or exercise extreme caution when operating on the water.

The public can stay informed by monitoring the progress and strength of heavy weather through local television, radio and Internet. Boaters can monitor weather progress on VHF channel 16. Information can also be obtained on small craft advisories and warnings on VHF channel 16.

Keep in mind that Coast Guard personnel and other emergency responders may not be able to assist those in danger during heavy weather.

During heavy weather, the Coast Guard reccommends all mariners secure their belongings. Owners of larger boats can move their boats 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, which is not prone to flooding. Those who are leaving their boats in the water are reminded to secure life rings, life jackets and small boats.

Be cautious of hazardous materials. If you have hazardous materials on or near the water, you are responsible for any spills, which may occur. Take the necessary precautions to secure them prior to any foul weather.

During inclement weather, exercise caution around beaches. Even the best swimmers can fall victim to the strong waves and rip currents caused by a heavy weather.

Mariners are reminded drawbridges along the coast may deviate from normal operating procedures during heavy storms. They are generally authorized to remain closed up to eight hours prior to the approach of gale force winds of 34 knots or greater. Because of the uncertainty of weather movements and related bridge closures, mariners should seek early passage through drawbridges well in advance of the arrival of gale force winds. When in doubt, check with the local Coast Guard marine safety office.

For more information on current weather, visit the NOAA National Weather Service Web site at http://www.nws.noaa.gov/.

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