Coast Guard urges caution ahead of heavy weather across Florida

MIAMI – The Coast Guard encourages mariners and those in coastal areas to prepare for high winds and seas forecasted for the state of Florida’s coastal region starting Friday afternoon.

Some areas are expected to see gale-force winds at 35-40 mph and up to 5-foot seas.

“The Coast Guard is monitoring the severe weather conditions and is broadcasting small craft advisories in the area,” said Capt. Matt Thompson, Commander of Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg, “Those considering activities on or near the water are advised to closely monitor changing weather conditions and ensure they have proper safety equipment and an effective means of communications”

Mariners in coastal areas are encouraged to take the following precautions to protect themselves and their vessels:

  • Monitor the weather and heed all marine/weather warnings
  • Double-check mooring lines when securing boats and take precautions for items stored loosely aboard
  • Secure all paddle craft so they do not end up in the water and cause a false distress
  • Recreational boaters, personal watercraft and paddle craft users are advised to stay off the water due to hazardous sea conditions
  • Stay off rocks and jetties, as waves can be unpredictable
  • If mariners get underway, they should create a float plan and send it to friends and families before getting underway, which consists of a description of the vessel, the number of people aboard, the destination and the expected return time.
  • Always wear a properly fitting life jacket when on the water and use VHF-FM channel 16 to notify rescuers in the event of an emergency

For more information about this week’s forecast, visit the National Weather Service.

National Safe Boating Week is May 16-22 and the Coast Guard is encouraging all mariners to educate themselves and loved ones prior to the 2020 boating season.

Safe boating campaign:

Coast Guard Auxiliary boating safety education:

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