Coast Guard sets Port Condition Whiskey for Port of Delaware Bay and New Jersey

PHILADELPHIA–The Captain of the Port, Delaware Bay, set modified Port Condition WHISKEY for the New Jersey and Delaware area due to the potential for severe weather from Tropical Storm Fay in the next 24 hours.

The Captain of the Port has determined the Delaware shore, Delaware Bay, and New Jersey shore areas will likely experience heavy rains, gale-force winds, increased seas and surf. Members of the port community should take adequate precautions and review the Severe Weather Contingency Plan. Ports are currently open to all commercial traffic and all transfer operations may continue while Whiskey remains in effect. In preparation for high winds, the following provisions of Port Condition WHISKEY have implemented:

Vessels must have effective mooring and anchorage arrangements for anticipated high wind; vessel agents are asked to notify vessel masters of this requirement. Facilities must minimize debris that could become missile hazards. Lightering, bunkering, and cargo operations must cease when sustained winds exceed 40 mph. Vessels and facilities within potentially affected areas should conduct a pre-storm self-assessment and report any potential hazards or concerns to the Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay Command Center at (215) 271-4807.

Owners of pleasure craft are advised to closely monitor weather reports and seek safe harbor well before storm conditions arrive. Drawbridges may not be operating if sustained winds reach 25 mph or when an evacuation is in progress.

If port conditions are elevated as tropical storm force winds approach, vessel movements may be restricted, and all movements must be approved by the COTP.

The Coast Guard encourages the public to:

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.

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 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 remove EPIRBs and to secure life rings, lifejackets and small boats. These items, if not properly secured, can break free and require valuable search and rescue resources be diverted to ensure people are not 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 tropical storms. Swimmers should stay clear of beaches until local lifeguards and law enforcement officials say the water is safe.

Stay informed. The public should monitor the progress and strength of the storm through local television, radio and the internet. Information can also be obtained on small craft advisories and warnings on VHF radio channel 16.

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