Coast Guard sets port condition Zulu for Port of Georgetown

CHARLESTON, S.C. – Effective 8 a.m. Thursday, the Coast Guard Captain of the Port (COTP) set port condition Zulu for the Port of Georgetown and northern Intercoastal Waterway in South Carolina due to the expectation of sustained gale force winds of 25 mph and gusts up to 40 mph generated by Hurricane Florence that may arrive within 12 hours.

Sustained winds between 39 and 54 mph are possible within 12 hours. Mariners are reminded there are no safe havens in these facilities, and ports are safest when the inventory of vessels is at a minimum.

While port condition Zulu is in place no vessels may enter or transit within these ports without permission of the COTP. All vessel movements are prohibited at this time, and all ship-to-shore operations must cease. Mariners can view the latest port updates on the Coast Guard’s Homeport site.

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 or rescue 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 to sustaining 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 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. Information can be found at the National Hurricane Center’s webpage.
  • 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.
  • Don’t rely on social media. People in distress should use 911 to request assistance whenever possible. Social media should not be used to report life-threatening distress due to limited resources to monitor the dozens of social media platforms during a hurricane or large-scale rescue event.

For information on Hurricane Florence progress and hurricane preparedness, please visit the National Hurricane Center‘s webpage.

For photos of Hurricane Florence, visit our Hurricane Florence Flickr album.

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