PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — The United States Coast Guard has a message for boaters ahead of Hurricane Dorian — stay off the water.
All of the Coast Guards small boats and many of their cutter class vessels based at their Portsmouth base have already left in anticipation of the storm.
Some are upriver near Richmond while others will stay at the Naval Academy while Dorian passes.
Captain Kevin Carroll, the sector commander, says search and rescue capabilities are diminished because of this.
It’s another reason why they’re asking recreational boaters to stay out of the water.
“You have no business being on the water today, tomorrow, or Saturday during and after this storm. The conditions are going to be extreme. The conditions are not to be trifled with. You absolutely have to be off the water,” he said
The Port of Virginia closed at 4 p.m. Friday and hopes to open again on Saturday after the storm passes.
No recreational or commercial vessels should come through the area.
Officials say they’re hoping to re-open it on Saturday but it could be delayed depending on downed buoys, large debris and other issues.
Captain Carroll says if you do have a boat at home, you can still prepare for Dorian but taking it out of the water.
“Make sure it’s secured properly. Make sure its at high ground. If you have any loose articles on board, secure them. If your vessel is unable to come out of the water, make sure all items on board are secure,” he said.
He also recommended turning off locator beacons and tying down life jackets because if it is activated or they see the jackets floating, it could spark a search and rescue effort.
Carroll also stressed that boaters being out on the water not only puts their lives in danger, but first responders lives as well.