If you’ve got a boat, don’t be foolish. Stay off the water until after Hurricane Sandy passes!
The U.S. Coast Guard has elevated New York and New Jersey port condition status to Yankee. Large vessels must vacate New York’s ports, and other mariners are cautioned to avoid being on the water. The Coast Guard’s search and rescue operations will be hampered, and they may not be able to provide help until after the storm. Drawbridges will remain closed as wind picks up speed.
(Get all the latest Hurricane Sandy-related news, announcements and resources, including live video, at our Hurricane Sandy Resource page.)
Here’s their press release:
The Captain of the Port of New York and New Jersey set port condition YANKEE for all commercial waterways in preparation for Hurricane Sandy, effective Sunday,
Gale force winds from Hurricane Sandy are expected to make landfall along the coast of New York and New Jersey within 24 hours. In addition the COTP Hurricane and Severe Weather Plan, additional actions are required:
- Commercial deep draft vessels greater than 500 gross tons are not authorized to remain in port alongside a pier after 6 p.m., today.
- All vessels must be out of Bay Ridge, Stapleton, and Gravesend Bay Anchorage Grounds by 6 p.m., today.
- Only one barge per commercial mooring buoy, with a tug in the vicinity, is authorized after 6 p.m., today.
- After the hurricane has passed, all facilities must fill out a post-storm assessment survey.
Mariners are also advised that drawbridges will remain closed when wind speeds are 34 knots or greater or once evacuations begin. Because of the uncertainty of weather movements and related bridge closures, mariners are urged to seek passage through drawbridges well in advance of the arrival of gale force winds.
All Coast Guard small boat stations have secured operations in anticipation of the hurricane. As a result, they will have minimal search and rescue capabilities until the storm passes out of the area. The Coast Guard once again urges boaters to stay off the water and off the beaches.
As Hurricane Sandy draws closer, the Coast Guard is warning 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. That is why boaters should heed to weather watches, warnings and small craft advisories.
Evacuate as necessary. If mandatory evacuations are set for an area, the public should evacuate without delay. Coast Guard personnel and other emergency responders may not be able to evacuate those in danger during the storm.
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 damage.
Trailerable 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 secure life rings, lifejackets and small boats. These items, if not secured properly, can break free and require valuable search and rescue resources to be diverted to ensure they are not actually people 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 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.
Stay informed. The public should monitor the progress and strength of Hurricane Sandy through local television, radio and 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.