CHARLESTON, S.C. — Effective 4 p.m. Monday, the Coast Guard Captain of the Port (COTP) has set Port Condition X-Ray due to the expected arrival of tropical-storm-force winds of 39 mph from Hurricane Dorian within 48 hours.
While the Port of Charleston has increased its readiness for heavy weather, it is currently open to commercial traffic and cargo operations may continue.
The Coast Guard and maritime partners have been strategizing port preparations throughout the day and through daily Heavy Weather Advisory Group conferences. This group will continue to balance the risk to the port with the need to move commerce and potentially support areas impacted by Hurricane Dorian.
Vessels desiring to remain in port must immediately contact the COTP to receive permission and are required to submit a safe mooring plan in writing. Vessels bound for the Port of Charleston unable to depart 24 hours prior to tropical storm force winds making landfall are advised to seek an alternate destination.
If and when port condition Yankee is set, meaning sustained tropical storm force winds are expected within 24 hours, vessel movement will be restricted.
The Coast Guard is advising the public of these important safety messages:
Stay informed. The public should monitor the progress and strength of the storm through local television, radio, and internet. Information can also be obtained on small craft advisories and warnings on VHF radio channel 16. Drawbridges may not be operating if sustained winds reach 25 mph or when an evacuation is in progress. It is critical that vessels intending to transit the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway depart early to avoid being blocked by bridges. Mariners can view the latest port updates on the Coast Guard’s Homeport site.
Reduced Search and Rescue Capabilities.The Coast Guard’s search and rescue capabilities degrade as storm conditions approach the area. This means help could be delayed. Boaters should heed weather watches, warnings and small craft advisories. Mariners can view the latest port updates on the Coast Guard’s Homeport site.
Don't rely on social media. Those in distress should use 911 to request assistance. Social media should not be used to report life-threatening distress due to limited resources to monitor the dozens of social media platforms during a hurricane or large-scale rescue event.
Secure belongings. 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.