Coast Guard Urges Mariners to Think Safety as Heavy Weather Passes Through Virginia and North Carolina Coastal Areas

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – In anticipation of heavy weather off the coast of North Carolina and Virginia tonight, the Coast Guard is urging mariners to exercise extreme caution when transiting coastal and inland waterways.

A gale warning is currently in effect for the waters of Virginia and North Carolina with forecasted winds of 30-35 m.p.h., and seas between seven and ten feet.

A Coast Guard C-130 crew from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., is currently flying off the North Carolina coast, broadcasting expected weather forecasts to mariners at sea.

The Coast Guard urges mariners to always:

  • Wear their lifejackets while on the water.
  • Check the current and expected weather and water conditions before heading out.
  • File a float plan with friends, family members and their local marina before heading out. The list should include the number of passengers onboard the vessel, their destination and expected time of return.
  • Always have a working radio onboard their vessel as cell phone coverage varies from region to region
  • Carry marine flares onboard their vessel to signal rescuers in distress and emergency situations

“All mariners are encouraged to be mindful of the weather and to exercise extreme caution while on the water,” said Lt. Mark Gibbs, a watchstander at Rescue Coordination Center Portsmouth.

The gale warning will remain in effect until Tuesday morning.

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