Coast Guard warns Maine, N.H. mariners in hurricane’s path

The following is the text of a press release issued by the U.S. Coast Guard:
(PORTLAND, Maine) — Coast Guard units in Maine and New Hampshire are further preparing for Hurricane Kyle, which is forecasted to intensify and strengthen tomorrow and batter the region with high winds, heavy rain and damaging seas.
Coast Guard shore units have boat crews on alert, and are broadcasting storm warnings to mariners via VHF FM radio and aircraft from Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod, Mass., are flying offshore and broadcasting the latest weather to mariners at sea.  The Coast Guard is also tracking vessels currently underway in the region through the vessel management system.
The Coast Guard is aggressively preparing for the storm in close coordination with local and state agencies and participated in a multi-agency conference call hosted by Governor Baldacci and the Maine Emergency Management Agency, earlier today.  The nature of the call was to ensure appropriate resources were properly poised for effective and rapid response and to align emergency efforts before Kyle impacts the region.  Additionally, Coast Guard staff contacted shipping agents, local harbor-masters, pilots, and other partners in local law enforcement to be best prepared for the weather.
Winds of up to 60 miles per hour combined with seas as high as 30 feet offshore are expected.  The high winds and heavy seas may present serious dangers to mariners and coastal communities.  Assistance by the Coast Guard and other agencies may be degraded or unavailable immediately before, during, and after the storm.
The Coast Guard urges mariners to seek the nearest safe haven.
The Coast Guard also strongly recommends boat owners secure their canoes, kayaks and boats for the storm and to keep contact information inside of their vessels.  If they discover their boats have broken loose during the storm, report it as soon as possible to the nearest Coast Guard Station.
The Coast Guard has protected its own assets and vessels so they will be ready to respond once the weather subsides and has established emergency crews who are prepared to respond.  Further, harbor patrols will be conducted to identify pollution hazards and other port risks in order to mitigate potential storm impacts within the port infrastructure. The Captain of the Port has also made direct contact with approximately seven large ships including three cruise ships which may be impacted by the storm. The Coast Guard is working very closely with commercial shipping agents as well as the local ferry operators to monitor vessel traffic to protect the safety of the port. Post storm harbor assessments are planned to be conducted on shore, sea and via aircraft to determine port damage and verify channel access once conditions are safe.   
“While it’s difficult to predict how severely the coastal region of Maine and New Hampshire will be affected by Kyle, we feel the need to prepare as best we can before severe weather hits,” said Capt. James McPherson, Commander of Sector Northern New England.  “By keeping personnel on alert, resources ready, and coordinating with our partners in the maritime community, we are better able to respond should the need arise.”
By Professional Mariner Staff