MIAMI (CBS4) – Ahoy mateys – it’s time to batten down those hatches. As Hurricane Irene heads in our general direction, boat owners are being urged to secure their vessels before the storm’s winds impact our area.
“Now is the time to properly secure your vessel to make sure it doesn’t break free and cause damage to property or result in people getting injured,” said Capt. Tom Shipp with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Boating and Waterways Section.
Vessels that break free can cause problems to waterways by causing fuel and oil pollution, drifting into bridges, docks, seawalls and piers, and interfering with navigation. In addition, the boats themselves can sustain damage. Residents are encouraged to call their local law enforcement agencies or the FWC at 888-404-3922 to report vessels that have broken free.
If boat owners trailer their boats, the FWC recommends they secure their vessels in a safe location, let some air out of the trailer tires, block the wheels and, if possible, anchor the boat down and/or add weight to help keep the boat in place.
The FWC is also asking people to stay off the water until it is safe.
“Thrill-seekers are advised to avoid the waters and high winds created from the storm,” Shipp said.
“Please keep in mind that when people choose to act irresponsibly, they jeopardize others. They cause law enforcement officers, rescue workers and other emergency personnel to risk their lives unnecessarily.”