Coast Guard warns: “Stay out of water”

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – Ahead of Hurricane Arthur, the Coast Guard is warning people to stay out of the water, and boaters to seek safe harbor.

Master Chief Stephen Atchley met with the media at Coast Guard base Portsmouth Thursday afternoon. His patrol boat, the Shearwater, is ready to go. It’s one of four patrol boats covering the Chesapeake Bay in Hampton Roads.

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Atchley confirms Coast Guard stations all throughout the bay are on standby with ships and helicopters in Elizabeth City ramping up, but he warns there will come a time when even first responders can’t respond.

His boat, for instance, would not make it in the water conditions reported earlier Thursday in South Carolina.

“The NOAA buoy reports around 15-foot seas at an eight second period, my windows right there on that ship are 17 feet above the water line,” Atchley said.

His advice for boat owners is to make sure you have enough fendering to keep your boat from slamming into the docks and secure anything loose on board.

“A major concern is EPBRs, emergency position radio beacons. We’ve had a number of events where those EPRBs have fallen off, they get activated, or a life jacket blows over and then we’ve got resources out on that and it’s basically a false alarm,” Atchley explained.

That takes them away from people who may really need their help.

Hurricane Ready Guide: Emergency contacts

To prepare for a hurricane, the Coast Guard advises that you remove small boats from the water and move them to a secure location, above flood areas. If the boat is too large to be removed from the water, the Coast Guard advises that you move it to a safe haven ahead of the storm.

In North Carolina, the Port of Morehead City is closed to all inbound and outbound traffic. The Coast Guard said no vessel can enter, depart, or transit without the permission of the Coast Guard Captain of the Port (COTP).

All vessels bound for these ports should look for another destination.

Click here for more important tips and information from the Coast Guard.

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