Thursday, September 2, 2010

Swimmers and Boaters Urged to take Precautions During Hurricane EARL

Swimmers and Boaters Urged to take Precautions due to Possible High Weekend Seas - Esp. Before/During & After Hurricane EARL

State officials cautioned boaters and swimmers to stay aware of surf conditions as the projected path of Hurricane EARL is predicted to pass several hundred miles east of Massachusetts.  Even at that distance, Hurricane EARL is expected to have an impact on coastal regions.  Swimmers and boaters must take precautions given the potential high seas and strong currents expected to be associated with this event over the remainder of the week.

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) offers these tips for those around the water, particularly swimmers and boaters.

• Always check surf conditions. Over this weekend, swimmers are urged to stay out of the water on the Outer Cape and Islands, due to the rough surf and threat of life-threatening rip currents.

• Always be aware of the dangers of rip currents. Remember to never swim against the current, but parallel to the beach to an area where the current is weaker and you can safely return to shore.

• Once the storm passes and swimmers can safely return to the ocean, swimmers should remember to never swim alone, preferably on beaches with lifeguards. If you see someone in trouble, get help from a lifeguard. If a lifeguard is not available, have someone call 9-1-1.

• During these stormy conditions, never turn your back to the ocean, as you may be swept off coastal bluffs or tide pool areas and into the water by waves that can come without warning.

• Be careful standing on seawalls while watching the surf.

• Boaters should continually obtain the latest available weather forecast for your boating area as well as U.S. Coast Guard and harbormaster warnings and directives.

• It is recommended that recreational boaters avoid the waters off of the outer Cape and Islands over the weekend.

• Those who venture out to sea should identify hurricane holes and safe harbors in the area in case you are caught at sea.

• Boat owners should assemble emergency equipment and supplies, as well as all of the necessary gear on board to properly tie down their vessel. 

• Realize that you may not be able to pull your boat out of the water.  Precious time is lost if you are searching for gear as a storm approaches.

• Have a plan worked out with your marina operator so there are no questions or confusion when the time comes to tie up or pull your boat from the water.

• Insure your vessel is as watertight as possible. Use duct tape and plugs to seal hatches, ports, windows, doors and vents.

• Remove all electronics, valuables and non-essential items.

• Have your insurance policies, boat registration, a recent photograph and description of the vessel, gear inventory, marina or storage lease agreement and important telephone numbers (local harbormaster, U.S. Coast Guard, National Weather Service, insurance agent) in a secure place off of the boat.

• When you are through, help your neighbor.  It only takes one poorly tied boat in a marina to destroy an entire dock.

• Do not stay on the boat and attempt to ride out the storm.

With hurricane season underway, it is a good reminder to take the proper steps to ensure your family’s safety.  Ensure that your Family Emergency Kit is stocked for a 3-5 day period, your Family’s Communication Plan is in place, and you have become informed of your community’s Emergency Plans regarding potential notification systems, emergency shelters and evacuation routes.

CLICK HERE for Coastal Tide Information for Boston Harbor/Deer Island.

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