Coast Guard Urges Hurricane Preparedness Ahead of Tropical Storm Elsa

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – The Coast Guard urges caution to Mid-Atlantic mariners, boaters and beachgoers as Tropical Storm Elsa impacts the region.

Tropical storms are dangerous, can create treacherous conditions and can cause gale-force winds sooner than anticipated.

Mariners, boaters, and beachgoers alike should stay safe, alert and follow advisories as harsh weather, seas, and winds impact their area, as well as consider the following: 

  • Remain in port. Mariners should consider altering plans to avoid possible hazardous conditions. Remain in port, seek safe harbor, alter course, and/or secure the vessel for severe wind and waves.
  • Prepare for heavy winds. Heavy winds associated with tropical storms can lead to life threatening conditions if boaters or mariners are unprepared. Follow precautions and weather advisories. 
  • Stay off the water. Boaters can find themselves in trouble as sea states intensify beyond what their vessel can safely operate within. 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.
  • Secure belongings. Those who are leaving their boats in the water are reminded 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.
  • Be cautious on beaches. Beachgoers should heed warnings from local lifeguards and weather services in regards to the approaching storm. 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 tropical storms or hurricanes. 
  • Label and secure your paddlecraft: Storms can cause unsecured paddlecraft to break loose, which will result in search and rescue cases. if gear and craft are labeled properly, search and rescue coordinators can reach out quickly to see if an individual was in distress. 
  • Stay informed. The public should monitor the progress and strength of the storm through local television, radio, and the 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.