CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The United States Coast Guard is beginning to make preparations ahead of any impacts in the Lowcountry from Hurricane Florence.
Officials set the Port of Charleston to condition "Whiskey" on Monday morning, meaning tropical storm force winds of 39 mph or greater may arrive within the next 72 hours.
Ports are safer when there are fewer large ships. All ocean-going commercial ships and barges more than 500 tons should make plans to leave ports in South Carolina.
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Owners who use their boats for fun are advised to seek safe harbor. Drawbridges may not operate if sustained winds reach 25 mph or when an evacuation is in progress. Port facilities are advised to review their heavy weather plans and take all necessary precautions. The Coast Guard may also issue port condition "Yankee" which would mean sustained tropical storm force winds are expected within the next 24 hours.
Officials also issued the following safety messages for boaters:
- Boaters should heed weather watches, warnings and small craft advisories.
- Owners of large boats should move them to inland marinas if possible where they will be less vulnerable to breaking free of their moorings or sustaining damage.
- Any boats that can be placed on a trailer should be pulled from the water and stored in a place that is not prone to flooding. Those leaving boats in the water are reminded to remove EPIRBs and secure life rings as well as life jackets.
- Boaters can monitor the storm's progress on VHF radio channel 16. Information can also be obtained on small craft advisories and warnings on VHF radio channel 16