Coast Guard Mid-Atlantic officials urge boaters, beachgoers use caution, prepare for adverse weather

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Coast Guard officials in the Mid-Atlantic are urging the maritime community, boating public and beachgoers Monday to use caution and protect themselves and their vessels as Hurricane Maria moves north.

The Coast Guard stresses the importance of securing vessels and updating Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon registrations as these devices often float free from vessels in marinas or at docks during storms and signal false distress. The maritime community should consider the possibility of volatile port conditions.

High seas, heavy rains and damaging winds could present serious danger to boaters out on the water. Beachgoers should be aware of rip currents and treacherous surf conditions. Adverse weather effects can cover an area hundreds of miles wide. Even people who are outside the direct path of the storm are advised to be aware of weather conditions and take appropriate precautions to stay safe and minimize damage.

Here are a few tips to help protect people and their vessels:

* Take action now. Waiting until the storm is here will diminish the likelihood of safe and thorough preparations.

* Do not go out to sea if a tropical storm or hurricane 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.

* Check with local authorities before entering any storm-damaged area. Boaters should not place themselves in danger to get to a boat. Seek salvage assistance from a professional.

* Remember that storms move quickly and are unpredictable. You can always replace a boat; you cannot replace a life.

* Rip currents and heavy surf at the beach can be treacherous long after a storm has passed.

The Coast Guard requests that the public not call Coast Guard facilities for weather information, but to listen to weather broadcasts.

For information on the progress of Hurricane Maria and hurricane preparedness, please visit the National Hurricane Center‘s webpage.

For imagery and video of the Hurricane Maria response, please visit our Flicker page.

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