ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The Coast Guard is encouraging boaters to stay off the water due to a developing tropical depression expected to impact Florida’s Gulf Coast Sunday extending through Tuesday.
The National Hurricane Center reports high winds up to 25 knots, heavy rain and rising waves up to 12 feet that may affect the eastern Gulf of Mexico. All boaters and beachgoers are strongly encouraged to monitor weather conditions as the depression is expected to develop into Tropical Storm Colin.
Adverse weather effects generated by a tropical storm or hurricane can cover an area hundreds of miles wide. Even recreational boaters and commercial vessels outside of the direct path of the storm are advised to be aware of weather conditions and take appropriate precautions to stay safe.
"Mariners and beachgoers should avoid unnecessary risk and use extreme caution if heading out on the water," said Lt. Cmdr. Holly Deal, Sector St. Petersburg's deputy response chief. "Unfavorable weather conditions could limit or delay Coast Guard search and rescue efforts."
Here are a few tips to help mariners protect themselves, their families and their vessels:
- Do not go out to sea in a recreational boat if you know a storm is approaching.
- Contact local marinas to ask for advice about securing your vessel.
- Marina operators are knowledgeable and can advise you on the best methods for securing your boat.
- Take action now. The effects of a storm can be felt well in advance. Check with local authorities before entering any storm-damaged area.
- Do not rush to your boat. Boaters should not place themselves in danger to get to a boat.
- Do not try to board a partially sunken boat. Seek salvage assistance from a professional. Storms move quickly and are unpredictable.