Coast Guard warns mariners, prepares for storm, coastal flooding in Northeast

Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft File Photo

Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft File Photo

BOSTON — The Coast Guard is advising mariners and the public along the Massachusetts and Rhode Island coast to exercise vigilance and extreme caution Thursday night through Saturday as a powerful storm approaches.

Conditions are expected to deteriorate Thursday night. Along with heavy rain and strong wind gusts, high tide cycles from Friday into Saturday are at risk for widespread, major coastal flooding. The intensity and height of the predicted storm’s wave action combined with the astronomically high tides, and the long duration of this coastal storm, could significantly exceed the coastal flooding damage experienced during the Nor’easter this past January.

The forecasted high winds, rain, coastal flooding, and heavy seas will make operation in the maritime environment dangerous.

Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod aircraft have been flying storm tracks ahead of the storm to warn mariners of the impending storm.

Coast Guard Cutter Spencer, a 270-foot cutter homeported in Boston, will be staged off the coast to respond to offshore search and rescue cases.

Due to the extreme conditions some Coast Guard assets may have limited ability to respond to vessels in distress. Therefore, waterfront operators, mariners, fishing vessels, recreational boaters, and the general public should exercise extreme caution as conditions begin to deteriorate on Thursday night.

Mariners and recreational boaters are warned to take the following precautions to protect their vessels and their crews:

  • If a storm is approaching, do not go out to sea.
  • Double-check lines when securing your boat. Take precautions for items stored loosely aboard.
  • Please secure all paddle craft and ensure they are not located in or near the tidal surge zone.
  • Contact local marinas for advice on how best to secure your vessel.
  • If you must get underway, create a float plan and send it to your friends and families before getting underway. Ensure that you have the proper signaling devices onboard your vessel and the correct amount of life jackets onboard.
  • The storm is likely to produce dangerous winds and coastal flash flooding. Personal watercraft and paddle craft users are advised to stay off the water due extremely hazardous sea conditions. Also, swimmers, surfers, and wind surfers are strongly urged to stay out of the water during this period of heavy weather.
  • Always wear a proper life jacket when on a boat or personal watercraft.

All boaters and those living along coastal communities are urged to secure their small craft, including canoes, kayaks, and paddle craft, due to the expected high winds, heavy seas, and storm surge. Paddle craft owners are urged to pull and secure vessels well above high water levels to avoid craft being pulled off the shore. Once at sea, unmanned craft often result in complex, unnecessary searches thereby reducing Coast Guard’s capability to respond to actual distress at sea. Also, please clearly mark all paddle craft with owner’s name and contact information.

Coast Guard Sector Boston’s area of responsibility extends from Plymouth, MA, to the Massachusetts/New Hampshire border and is expected to be heavily impacted.

“Our primary concern is ensuring the safety of the people and mariners who live and work throughout the New England coastal community,” said Capt. Claudia Gelzer, Commander, Coast Guard Sector Boston. “We strongly advise everyone to stay vigilant, pay attention to any weather updates, and avoid putting themselves or their loved ones at risk as the storm passes off the coast.”

For additional information on the storm, visit the National Weather Service.

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