Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Coast Guard sets Port Condition ZULU for Puerto Rico, USVI due to Tropical Storm Laura

By on August 21, 2020

(Screen capture of https://www.nhc.noaa.gov)

SAN JUAN — The Coast Guard captain of the Port San Juan set Port Condition  ZULU at 8 a.m. Friday for all maritime ports in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, due to Tropical Storm Laura.

During Port Condition ZULU, the ports will remain closed to all vessel traffic unless specifically authorized by the captain of the port, while vessel cargo operations are suspended, including bunkering and lightering.

Owners and operators of recreational vessels should follow the small craft advisories from the National Weather Service, and take the necessary measures to safeguard the safety of their vessels, the Coast Guard said.

“Once the storm has cleared the area, Coast Guard port assessment teams will assess the condition of port facilities and navigable waterways. Following a satisfactory assessment of the waterway, including critical aids to navigation, the Captain of the Port San Juan will reopen the port for vessel traffic and port facilities to resume normal operations,” a news release reads.

The Coast Guard advises the public of these important safety messages:

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 taken out of the water, and stored in a place not prone to flooding.  Those leaving their boats in the water should remove their EPIRBs and 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 storms.  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 with a family plan, a disaster supply kit, by 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 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. 

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