Captain of the Port sets Port Condition YANKEE in South Florida

Southeastern Coast Guard News

MIAMI — Effective 11 a.m. Saturday, Coast Guard Captain of the Port, Capt. Chris Scraba, increased port conditions for the Port of Miami, Miami River, Port Everglades, and Port of Palm Beach to YANKEE due to the expectation that gale force winds, generated by Tropical Storm Isaac, are anticipated to make landfall within 24 hours.

The Port of Fort Pierce will remain operating under Port Condition WHISKEY until further notice. In Port Condition WHISKEY, ports are open to all commercial traffic and all transfer operations may continue while Whiskey remains in effect.

During Port Condition YANKEE all affected ports are closed to inbound vessel traffic greater than 500 gross tons.  All vessels greater than 500 gross tons without permission to remain in port should have departed or be prepared to depart prior to the setting of Port Condition ZULU.

In Port Condition ZULU the port is closed and all port operations are suspended.

Mariners should prepare for impending severe weather and be aware drawbridges may not be operating as early as eight hours prior to the anticipated arrival of gale force winds or when an evacuation is in progress.

The following bridges are currently closed to navigation:

  • Miami-Dade County: It is anticipated that all bridges over the Intercoastal Waterway and Miami River will be in the lock-down phase as early as 6 p.m. or as late as 11 p.m. Saturday.
  • Broward County: It is anticipated that all bridges over the Intercoastal Waterway will be in the lock-down phase as early as 6 p.m. or as late as 11 p.m. on Saturday.

Bridge tenders will be present to open the bridges for emergencies only.  The emergency openings will require police support on each side of the bridge to ensure vehicle traffic does not get too far onto the bridge, since guards have been removed, and a bridge supervisor must also authorize the opening so there may be significant delays.

The Coast Guard is reminding the public of these important safety messages:

  • Stay off the water.  The Coast Guard’s search and rescue capabilities degrade as storm conditions strengthen.  This means help could be delayed.  That is why boaters should heed weather watches, warnings and small craft advisories.
  • Evacuate as necessary.  If mandatory evacuations are set for an area, the public should evacuate without delay.  Coast Guard personnel and other emergency responders may not be able to evacuate those in danger during the storm.
  • Secure belongings.  Owners of large boats are urged to move their vessels 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 that is not prone to flooding.  Those who are leaving their boats in the water are reminded to secure life rings, lifejackets and smallboats.  These items, if not secured properly, can break free and require valuable search and rescue resources to be diverted to ensure they are not actually people in distress.
  • Stay clear of beaches. Wave heights and currents typically increase before a storm makes landfall. Even the best swimmers can fall victim to the strong waves and rip currents caused by hurricanes.  Swimmers should stay clear of beaches until local lifeguards and law enforcement officials determine the water is safe.
  • Be prepared. Area residents should be prepared by developing a family plan, creating a disaster supply kit, having a place to go, securing their home and having a plan for pets. Information can be found at the National Hurricane Center’s webpage.
  • Stay informed. The public should monitor the progress and strength of Tropical Storm Isaac through local television, radio and Internet. Boaters can monitor its progress on VHF radio channel 16. Information can also be obtained on small craft advisories and warnings on VHF radio channel 16.

For information on how to prepare your boat or trailer for a hurricane, please click here.

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