LNM: USCG SPECIAL NOTICE – HURRICANE SEASON
This is information we all know, but it never hurts to review what you know!
SPECIAL NOTICE – HURRICANE SEASON
The hurricane season is considered to extend from June 1, 2021 through November 30, 2021. Tropical storms and hurricanes often develop with little warning. Extensive damage to small craft often results in loss of life. All mariners, particularly operators of small fishing vessels, are reminded that advanced planning which might prevent loss of vessel and crew should include:
(a) Instruction of crew and passengers in location of emergency equipment and emergency procedures.
(b) Presailing check of vessel, machinery, and equipment for seaworthiness.
(c) Installation of strong ground tackle.
(d) Review of storm center evacuation procedures.
(e) Knowledge of nearest hurricane shelter or port.
(f) Constant radio watch on VHF-FM Channel 16 and frequent monitoring of VHF-FM Weather Channel for National Weather Service Broadcasts.
Due to tropical storms and hurricanes, mariners should be aware that aids to navigation along the coasts of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas, and on structures in the Gulf of Mexico and surrounding waters may have been damaged or destroyed. Lighted and unlighted buoys may have been moved from charted position, damaged, sunk, extinguished, or otherwise made inoperative. Mariners should not rely completely upon the position or operation of an aid to navigation, but should also employ such other methods of determining position as may
be available. Wrecks and submerged obstructions may have been moved from charted locations and pipelines may become uncovered or moved, due to the force of storm surges. Storm surge and winds may create shoals in affected waters. The U.S. Aids to Navigation System marking wrecks and obstructions is intended for use with nautical charts. The exact meaning of a particular aid to navigation may not be clear to the mariner unless the appropriate nautical chart is consulted. Virtually all U.S. lateral marks are located in International Association of Marine Aids to
Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) Region B and follow the traditional 3R rule of red, right, returning. In U.S. waters, returning from seaward and proceeding toward the head of navigation is generally considered as moving westerly along the Gulf Coast. Mariners should exercise caution and report aid to navigation discrepancies and hazards to navigation to the nearest Coast Guard unit.
During the hurricane season, drawbridges along the coast may deviate from normal operating procedures. Some bridges may be unable to open because of high winds. Others may be authorized extended closed periods to facilitate evacuation of land traffic. Mariners should anticipate bridge closures by listening to the National Weather Service and Coast Guard Broadcasts on hurricane conditions. Because of the uncertainty of hurricane movements and bridge closures, mariners are urged to seek passage through drawbridges well in advance of the arrival of gale force
Locks and Navigation Structures are operated to pass navigation until such time, that water levels and wind conditions warrant operations unsafe. The structures are then closed in accordance with hurricane preparation procedures. Mariners will be given as much notice as possible when structures are to be closed. However, these structures may be closed on short notice well in advance of the actual storm. Mariners are advised to seek safe harbor as soon as possible.