Coast Guard sets port condition WHISKEY for Boston Captain of the Port Zone

1st Coast Guard District NewsBOSTON – Effective noon, Thursday, Coast Guard Captain of the Port, Capt. John Healy, set the port condition for the Boston Captain of the Port Zone to WHISKEY, due to the expectation that gale force winds generated by Hurricane Irene may arrive within 72 hours.

Ports are currently open to all commercial traffic. The COTP will issue additional maritime safety information broadcasts as the storm approaches, port conditions change, and bridges or waterways close.

Owners, operators or agents of all oceangoing vessels over 500 gross tons, and all barges and other waterborne structures being used for berthing, must report their intention to depart or remain in port to the COTP within 24 hours. The heavy weather plan and information for contacting the COTP is posted at

Port facilities are advised to review their heavy weather plans and take all necessary precautions to adequately prepare for the expected conditions.

Mariners operating within the Boston COTP Zone can anticipate the Coast Guard setting port condition X-RAY when gale force winds from Hurricane Irene are within 48 hours of landfall.

The Coast Guard is warning 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. 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 say 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 Hurricane Irene through local television, radio and Internet. Boaters can monitor hurricane progress on VHF radio channel 16. Information can also be obtained on small craft advisories and warnings on VHF radio channel 16.

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