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Press Release | Aug. 30, 2023

Coast Guard stresses safety, shelter for Hurricane Idalia’s impact to Florida

Seventh Coast Guard District - 305-415-6680

MIAMI — The Coast Guard advises mariners and residents of Florida impacted by Hurricane Idalia of safety considerations during the height of the storm and in the immediate aftermath, Wednesday.  

Hurricane Idalia’s eye made landfall as a Category 3 storm this morning.  

During a storm:  

  • All mariners are advised to stay off the water. Do not go out to sea in a recreational boat to “ride out” a hurricane. 

  • If you are unable to evade a storm in a vessel at sea or moored in a marina, ensure you wear a lifejacket and know how to activate your distress signaling devices. Rescue and assistance by the Coast Guard and other agencies may be severely degraded or unavailable immediately before, during, and after a devastating storm. 

  • If you get into trouble, call for help immediately. It is best to have an EPIRB on board in addition to a VHF marine radio. Keep in touch with the Coast Guard or anyone else you can reach so someone knows your location and assistance can be sent if needed and when possible. 

  • Carry life rafts onboard larger vessels. If the vessel sinks, board the life raft, stay with it, and tether passengers together. Keep moving slowly to keep circulation and body temperature up and avoid over-exertion. 

After the storm passes:   

  • Do not operate unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) around working crews or in areas with low-flying aircraft (helicopters).  

  • Stay off the water unless you are playing a critical role in the response. This is not a time for disaster sightseeing. The Coast Guard and other responders are actively engaged in restoring our waterways and maritime infrastructure. You can help by steering clear.  

  • Stay out of the way of rescue crews directly involved in the response. If you need to be on the road or in the water, please stay out of the way of the responders and drive slowly so you do not wake out crews working in flooded areas or on vessels and barges.  

  • Turn around, don’t drown. Do not intentionally drive your vehicle into flooded or washed-out areas. You may underestimate the depth and become stuck or damage your vehicle.  

  • Be sure you have a working VHF marine radio and a cell phone with a charged battery in case of emergency.  

To report a hazardous substance release or oil spill:   

  • Contact the federal government's centralized reporting center, the National Response Center (NRC), at 1-800-424-8802. The NRC is staffed 24 hours a day by personnel who will ask you to provide as much information about the incident as possible. Please include the following:  

  • Your name, location, organization, and contact number. 

  • Location of the incident. 

  • Source and cause of the release or spill (if known). 

  • Types of material(s) released or spilled (if known). 

  • Quantity of materials released or spilled (if known). 

  • Medium (e.g. land, water) affected by release or spill. 

  • Danger or threat posed by the release or spill. 

  • Weather conditions at the incident location. 

  • Other agencies notified or about to be notified. 

  • Any other information that may help emergency personnel respond to the incident. 

  • If reporting directly to the NRC is not possible, reports also can be made to the EPA Regional office or the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Office in the area where the incident occurred. In general, EPA should be contacted if the incident involves a release to inland areas or inland waters. The Coast Guard should be contacted for releases to coastal waters, ports and harbors. The EPA or the Coast Guard will relay release and spill reports to the NRC promptly. 

Updated Port Condition changes by the Captain of the Port in advance of storm systems and hurricanes will be available on the Homeport website and announced on official unit social media pages throughout the Seventh District. Check below for your local Coast Guard Sector page:   

To report marine distress or emergencies, please dial 911 or call the Coast Guard on VHF marine radio Channel 16. Social media is not tied to command centers or monitored 24/7 and should never be used to report life-threatening distress or law enforcement emergencies. 

Refer to the National Hurricane Center’s website for the most updated storm developments and forecasted impacts to the East Coast of Florida and the Atlantic seaboard.  

Imagery of the Coast Guard’s storm preparations and response efforts will be posted to our social media and Defense Visual Information Distribution Service Hub (DVIDS). Press releases will be posted to the D7 News Room

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