ORLANDO, Fla., — Ahead of the upcoming weekend the Coast Guard is reminding the boating public that the Port of Key West, Florida remains closed due to damage from Hurricane Irma, and we encourage boaters to avoid the waterways around the Florida Keys until the port conditions improve. READ MORE!
The Coast Guard is currently enforcing a safety zone around the Port of Key West as Coast Guard personnel work alongside our partner local, state and federal agencies in reconstituting the ports and waterways damaged by the hurricane.
The Coast Guard in coordination with partner agencies currently has and will continue to maintain a strong security presence within the Keys to maintain maritime security, safety of life at sea and deter potential incidents that could endanger ongoing relief operations to recover the islands from the impact of Hurricane Irma.
“The Coast Guard is working with our partner agencies to ensure they are aware of port condition changes and hurricane relief efforts,” said Cmdr. Lexia Littlejohn, deputy incident commander, Sector Key West Incident Command Post. “Vessel operators not abiding by safe boating regulations may endanger themselves or the people around them and may ultimately hamper any ongoing relief efforts in the area.”
Although most ports in Florida are now open, the Port of Key West remains severely impacted and safe navigation around the Keys can’t be ensured at this time. The public should stay clear of unsafe infrastructure or debris in the area and obey law enforcement officers.
Recreational vessel operators are reminded that representing themselves or their vessels for hire to transport passengers or cargo is illegal. Violators are subject to civil penalties, vessel seizure and possible criminal charges.
The Coast Guard also wants to remind licensed captains to maintain the proper limit of people and cargo aboard their vessel in accordance with the vessel authorized stability parameters.
The Coast Guard is committed to the swift recovery from the storm with search and rescue operations and safety of life as our first priority, followed by doing everything in our power to reopen the ports and waterways and resume the flow of maritime commerce to maintain security and stability throughout the nation.
Mariners can view the latest port updates on the Coast Guard Sector Key West’s Homeport site.
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