NEWS | Sept. 10, 2018

Charleston Coast Guard urges boaters to prepare for Hurricane Florence

U.S. Coast Guard 7th District PA Detachment Jacksonville

Coast Guard personnel in the Charleston area were pre-staging assets Sunday in preparation for potential Hurricane Florence impacts in the region and are urging mariners to also prepare before the storm. 

The Coast Guard is preparing assets to ensure rapid deployment of resources after the storm passes the Charleston area. 

"The Coast Guard is working very closely with its state and local partners to prepare for Hurricane Florence.  This relationship is critical because those partners have authorities and knowledge that are complementary to the Coast Guard’s to address preparedness and response issues before, during, and after the storm," said Cmdr. Nicholas Wong, Deputy Commander of Coast Guard Sector Charleston. "A major part of the Coast Guard’s preparedness efforts is to strategically pre-position our people and assets so they can assess risk to safely and quickly respond to the aftermath of the storm."  

As Coast Guard crews make preparations, they ask mariners to heed evacuation orders and follow a few tips to help mariners protect themselves, their families and their vessels: 

  • Do not go out to sea in a recreational boat if you know a tropical storm or hurricane is approaching.
  • 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. 
  • When removing your EPIRB from your vessel, ensure it does not inadvertently activate which could signal a false alert. Furthermore, once the severe weather has passed, mariners are reminded to ensure the EPIRB devices are placed back in their vessels before use. 
  • Contact local marinas to ask for advice about securing your vessel. Marina operators are knowledgeable and can advise you on the best methods for securing your boat. Information on how to prepare your boat or trailer for a hurricane can be found at the Coast Guard's Storm Center webpage.  
  • Take action now. The effects of a tropical storm/hurricane can be felt well in advance of the storm itself and can prevent the safe completion of preparations. 
  • Check with local authorities before entering any storm-damaged area. Do not rush to your boat. Boaters should not place themselves in danger to get to a boat.
  • Do not try to reach your boat if it has been forced into the water and is surrounded by debris. Wait until authorities have made safe access available. Do not try to board a partially sunken boat; seek salvage assistance from a professional. 
  • Storms move quickly and are unpredictable. You can always replace a boat; you cannot replace a life. 

The Coast Guard requests that the public not call Coast Guard facilities for weather information, but to listen to weather broadcasts. Important storm information can also be viewed at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/.