Coast Guard sets Hurricane Condition X-RAY for Tampa, St. Petersburg, Manatee ports

TAMPA, Fla. – Effective 8 p.m. Thursday, the Coast Guard set Hurricane Condition X-RAY (sustained Gale Force winds from a hurricane force storm are predicted within 48 hours) for Tampa, St. Petersburg and Manatee ports

Port conditions are a series of escalating measures put in place to keep vessels and ports safe.

All mariners are reminded that there are no safe havens in these ports and that the port is safest when the inventory of vessels is at a minimum. For planning purposes, all oceangoing vessels and barges over 500 gross tons will be required to depart the ports and head out to sea if/when Hurricane Condition YANKEE (24 hours before the on-set of gale force winds) is set. Inland vessels and barges over 500 gross tons are required to seek safe refuge in a port outside the Tampa, St. Petersburg and Manatee areas.

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 to sustaining damage. Trailer-able 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 update your Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) registration, and secure them safely to your vessel prior to a major storm. These devices often float free from vessels in marinas or at docks during hurricanes and signal a distress when there is none.

“Just as the Coast Guard and its members are preparing in advance, we urge the public to do so as well.” said Capt. Holly Najarian, Captain of the Port (COTP) for Tampa, St. Petersburg and Manatee. “Having a hurricane kit and emergency evacuation plans can help ensure the safety of individuals in our community and their loved ones, both during and after a storm.”

Both ocean-going and inland vessels and barges over 500 gross tons that wish to remain in the Tampa, St. Petersburg or Manatee port area must submit a Remaining in Port Checklist to the COTP and should contact the Prevention Office immediately. If/when Condition Yankee is set; vessel movement will be restricted and allowed only on a case-by-case basis by approval of the COTP. All vessels expecting to conduct cargo operations during Condition Yankee shall submit a Cargo Operations Plan to terminal owners for approval. All ship-to-shore operations must be completed six hours prior to the setting of Port Condition ZULU.

Hurricane Irma is a large and powerful storm. All marine interests must take early and substantial action to ensure safety of the port and vessels. Future port conditions cannot be predicted with any degree of certainty, but provided the storm remains on the projected course and track, port stakeholders can expect sustained Gale Force winds from a hurricane force storm within 48 hours.

Mariners can stay updated on latest port conditions through the St. Petersburg Coast Guard Homeport website.

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