PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – The Coast Guard announced it has set Port Condition X-Ray for the Port of Virginia at 8 p.m. on Saturday due to Hurricane Isaias — which is expected to hit the area within the next 48 hours.
Commercial vessels and barges over 500 gross tons should plan to depart the port. Vessels that want to remain in port were required to submit a mooring plan to the Captain of the Port for approval as of Saturday at 8 p.m.
Owners of pleasure crafts should closely monitor weather reports and seek safe harbor long before the storm arrives. Drawbridges may not be operating if sustained winds reach 25 mph or when an evacuation is in progress.
If port conditions are elevated as hurricane-force winds approach, vessel movements will be restricted, and all movements must be approved by the COTP.
The Coast Guard encourages the public to:
- Stay off the water. The Coast Guard’s search and rescue capabilities degrade as storm conditions strengthen. This means help could be delayed. Boaters should heed 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 or rescue 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 sustaining damage. Trailer-able 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 remove EPIRBs and to 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 hurricanes. Swimmers should stay clear of beaches until local lifeguards and law enforcement officials say the water is safe.
- Stay informed. The public should monitor the progress and strength of the storm through local television, radio and the Internet. Information can also be obtained on small craft advisories and warnings on VHF radio channel 16.