Coast Guard to boaters: Be safe, prepare for Subtropical Storm Alberto

Posted at 2:29 PM, May 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-26 15:29:51-04

The Coast Guard encourages boaters along the gulf coast to prepare for subtropical storm Alberto and stay safe through the Memorial Day weekend.

Typically, there is an increase of boaters on the water during the holiday weekend; however, due to the impeding storm, the Coast Guard urges boaters to take precautions for their personal safety.

Heavy seas, significant rain and damaging winds may accompany Alberto and present serious dangers to boaters. Rescue and assistance by the Coast Guard and other agencies may be degraded as the storm approaches.

Boaters are urged to secure their vessels and emergency position indicating radio beacons.

Drawbridges along the coasts may deviate from normal operating procedures prior to a storm. They are generally authorized to remain closed up to eight hours prior to the approach of gale force winds of 34 knots or greater and whenever an evacuation is ordered. Because of the uncertainty of weather movements and related bridge closures, mariners should seek passage through drawbridges well in advance of the arrival of gale force winds. 

Here are a few tips to help mariners protect themselves, their families and their vessels:

  • Do not go out to sea in a recreational boat when a storm is approaching. Heed all weather marine warnings. 
  • Stay up-to-date on weather forecasts. Storms can move and change quickly. 
  • Secure electronic position indicating radio beacons. If unsecured, EPIRBS can break free from a boat and trigger an emergency signal to the Coast Guard, putting responders in unnecessary danger.
  • Ensure boating gear is properly stowed or tied down to avoid causing unnecessary searches by the Coast Guard and other first responders. Life jackets, life rafts and small non-powered vessels are some examples of boating equipment often found adrift following severe weather.
  • Stay clear of beaches. Strong waves and rip currents are likely.
  • After the storm passes, check with local authorities before entering any storm-damaged area. Boat owners should not place themselves in danger to survey damage.
  • Do not try to reach a boat that has been forced into the water and is surrounded by debris. Wait until authorities have made safe access available.
  • Do not try to board a partially sunken boat; seek salvage assistance from a professional.