SAN JUAN – The Coast Guard set Port Condition WHISKEY for the maritime ports in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgins Islands at 4 p.m. Tuesday, due to tropical wave Invest 98L possibly arriving to the islands within 72 hours.
The Coast Guard said port assessment teams are visiting Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands Wednesday to assess preparedness actions being taken by port facilities.
According to a media release, the captain of Port San Juan “strongly cautions the maritime community to remain vigilant to the development and costume of tropical wave Invest 98L and take the necessary precautions, as there is a possibility it may continue to gain strength and further develop into a tropical storm as it approaches the area. ”
During Port Condition WHISKEY port facilities are open to all commercial traffic and all transfer operations may continue.
“Pleasure craft should seek safe harbor. Maritime and port facilities are reminded to review and update their heavy weather response plans and make any additional preparations needed to adequately prepare in case of a potential impact to the area.
“Mariners are reminded there are no safe havens in these facilities, and ports are safest when the inventory of vessels is at a minimum. All ocean-going commercial vessels greater than 500 gross tons should make plans for departing the port, any vessels wishing to remain in port are required to submit an application to the Captain of the Port prior to the setting of Port Condition X-Ray, " the Coast Guard said.
The Coast Guard captain of the Port San Juan anticipates setting Port Condition X-RAY at 4 pm Wednesday for the ports in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. These dates and times are subject to change based on future forecast.
During Port Condition X-RAY, sustained winds greater than 39 mph are possible within 48hours.
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 pulled from the water and stored in a place not prone to flooding. Those 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.
Be prepared. Area residents should be prepared by developing a family plan, creating a disaster supply kit, 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.