Coast Guard Re-Establishes Storm Flag Program; Media Availability Friday

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – The U.S. Coast Guard is re-establishing a Coastal Warning Display program at selected Coast Guard small boat stations throughout the country to warn the public of approaching storm conditions.

Coast Guard Station Wrightsville Beach, Virginia will demonstrate the use of Coastal Warning Display flags to warn mariners of approaching storm conditions at 10:30 a.m. Friday, the first day of hurricane season.

Members of the media are invited to attend and should arrive at the station no later than 10:15 a.m.

“Coast Guard stations participated in the National Weather Service’s official Coastal Warning Display program for over 100 years along with yacht clubs and marinas,” said Rear Adm. David Pekoske, assistant commandant for operations.

The program was discontinued by the National Weather Service in 1989, and the program is being re-established “as a Coast Guard initiative to reinforce the Coast Guard’s role as lifesavers, reaffirm to local communities the Coast Guard’s role as experts concerning local boating matters, and visually communicate to the American public the lesson of Hurricane Katrina to take personal responsibility for individual safety in the face of an approaching storm,” said Pekoske.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s “Population Trends Along the Coastal United States: 1980-2008,” the narrow coastal fringe that makes up 17 percent of the nation’s contiguous land area is home to more than half of its population.  In 2003, approximately 153 million people (53 percent of the nation’s population) lived in the 673 U.S. coastal counties, an increase of 33 million people since 1980.

Starting June 1, selected small boat stations will hoist display flags to warn of small craft advisories, gale warnings, storm warnings and hurricane warnings.  Residents of coastal communities are urged to tune to National Weather Service radio broadcasts for the latest information when they observe a flag hoisted as part of this program.

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