PORTSMOUTH, Va. (July 31, 2020)--— The ports of Virginia and Maryland have been set to Port Condition Whiskey by their respective Captains of the Port due to predicted sustained tropical storm force winds generated by Hurricane Isaias that may arrive within the next 72 hours.
Ports are currently open to all commercial traffic and all transfer operations may continue while Whiskey remains in effect.
All self-propelled oceangoing vessels over 500 gross tons (US) and all oceangoing barges and their supporting tugs will report within 24 hours their intention to depart or remain in port to the appropriate Captain of the Port. Those intending to remain in port will complete a "Remaining in Port Checklist for Oceangoing Vessels."
Remain in Port checklists and a complete listing of all recommended storm preparations for facility and vessel operators are listed in the Maritime Severe Weather Contingency Plan for port stakeholders. A list of all recent MSIBs for each port can be found on the U.S. Coast Guard’s Homeport website at https://homeport.uscg.mil.
Facility operators should make preparations to ensure all loose cargo, cargo equipment, and debris is secured safely. All vessel moorings should be reinforced. Vessels at facilities shall stow all unnecessary gear, ensure proper moorings, and carefully monitor cargo operations. Vessels anchored should make preparations for heavy weather and maintain a continuous listening watch on VHF Channel 16.
Owners of pleasure craft are advised to closely monitor weather reports and seek safe harbor well before storm conditions arrive. Drawbridges may not be operating if sustained winds reach 25 mph or when an evacuation is in progress.
If port conditions are elevated as tropical storm force winds approach, vessel movements will be restricted, and all movements must be approved by the Captain of the Port.
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.