Coast Guard Warns Mid-Atlantic Boaters: Secure Boats for Maria

Hurricane Maria, the most recent deadly storm in the Atlantic, is churning off the coast, and the U.S. Coast Guard are warning boaters to take precautions in the Mid-Atlantic.

As of Wednesday, a tropical storm warning was in effect for the North Carolina Coast, right up to the Virginia border, and a storm surge warning in effect from the Ocracoke Inlet to Cape Hatteras.

The National Weather Service predicts dangerous rip tides all week, and minor coastal flooding in Southeast Virginia.

The Coast Guard stresses the importance of securing your boat, and updating Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon registrations. That’s because the devices can often float free from boats during a storm and cause a false distress signal. Boaters should prepare for volatile port conditions.

USCG urges boaters to take action now to secure their boats, instead of waiting until the storm is here. They advise people to get advice from a local marina on how best to secure their boats. If your boat does get damaged, check with local authorities before trying to get to it, and rely on a professional to salvage a boat.

The Coast Guard reminds people never to go out on the water if a tropical storm or hurricane is approaching. As they put it, “Remember that storms move quickly and are unpredictable. You can always replace a boat; you cannot replace a life.”

Beachgoers should be aware of rip currents and treacherous surf conditions, which can begin before the storm actually arrives and last long after it’s gone.

When it’s all over, the U.S. Geological Survey predicts that Virginia and Maryland beaches will see erosion, altering the coastline.

As of Tuesday morning, the USGS coastal change forecast showed:

  • Approximately 60 percent of North Carolina dunes are expected to be impacted by dune erosion, with  5 percent of that stretch of coastline expected to experience overwash.
  • Two thirds of Virginia beaches north of the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay are likely to erode while one-third are likely to be overwashed.
  • Elevated water levels are also likely to reach and erode sand dunes along two thirds of the Maryland coastline.

To get the latest updates on Maria’s path, click here.