Coast Guard urges hurricane preparedness over Labor Day Weekend in South Florida

MIAMI — The Coast Guard urges boaters throughout Southern Florida and the rest of the Coast Guard 7th District to avoid the water this Labor Day weekend and to prepare for Hurricane Dorian.

Hurricane Dorian is anticipated to make landfall Labor Day weekend which generally has a high volume of boaters on the water. Hurricanes can be unpredictable and can cause gale-force winds sooner than anticipated.

The Coast Guard’s search and rescue capabilities will be limited during Labor Day weekend as crews prepare for Hurricane Dorian by relocating assets for storm avoidance to ensure they are ready to respond immediately following the hurricane.

The Coast Guard is advising 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.

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 tropical storms or 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 the 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.

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.

Captain. Adam Chamie, commander of Coast Guard Sector Key West talks about Coast Guard hurricane operations and urges boaters throughout the Coast Guard 7th District to avoid the water this Labor Day weekend and to prepare for Hurricane Dorian. Hurricane Dorian is anticipated to make landfall Labor Day weekend which generally has a high volume of boaters on the water. Hurricanes can be unpredictable and can cause gale-force winds sooner than anticipated. (Coast Guard Audio)

 


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