Coast Guard sets Port Condition Zulu for Mobile and New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS – The Coast Guard has continued securing its area of responsibility and adjusting port conditions along the Gulf Coast as the threat of Hurricane Nate continues to move north, Saturday.

The Coast Guard has set Port Condition Zulu for the New Orleans and Mobile, Alabama, captain of the port zones. Port Condition Zulu suspends all port operations and is set when gale force winds are possible within 12 hours.

The New Orleans Captain of the Port has ordered the enforcement of the hurricane regulated navigation area including the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal/Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and the Harvey/Algiers Canals. All vessels must be moored in accordance with a facility’s approved annual hurricane operations plan or evacuate the regulated navigation area.

Mariners are advised that the Lake Borgne Surge Barrier and Seabrook Sector Gate are closed.

To facilitate evacuation of residents, the state route 23 bridge across the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway at Belle Chasse in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, will be closed to marine traffic from 8 a.m. to noon, Saturday.

A safety zone has been established on the Lower Mississippi River at mile marker 73 above Head of Passes extending down to the Southwest Pass sea buoy at mile marker 20 below Head of Passes from 5 p.m. Oct. 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 8, or until rescinded by the New Orleans captain of the port.

All vessels are prohibited from entering or moving within this safety zone without permission from the New Orleans captain of the port or his designated representative, the vessel traffic service, Lower Mississippi.

Transit will be allowed only on a case-by-case basis.

The Coast Guard urges all mariners to continuously monitor local and national weather sources and avoid coastal areas that may be impacted by the storm.

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, tied securely to trailers and stored in places not prone to flooding. Those who are leaving their boats in the water are strongly encouraged to label all personal floatation devices, life rings and other life saving devices with a contact name and phone number. Additionally, they are reminded to update their emergency position indicating radio beacon registration and secure EPIRBs safely to vessels 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, endangering crews that respond when it isn’t necessary.

Due to movement of Coast Guard surface assets out of the path of the storm, search and rescue capabilities are limited. During the height of the storm, no search and rescue may be possible due to operational restrictions of Coast Guard assets. Boaters and citizens should heed storm warnings and take early action to stay safe and off the water to protect themselves and their families.

The Coast Guard is warning the public of these important safety messages:

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

Information on how to prepare your boat or trailer for a hurricane can be found at the Coast Guard Storm Center webpage.

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

For imagery and video of the Coast Guard response to Hurricane Nate, please visit

For the most up-to-date marine information safety bulletins, visit the Coast Guard Sector New Orleans Homeport website or the Coast Guard Sector Mobile Homeport Website and look for links under “Safety and Security.”

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