Coast Guard units along the Atlantic coast are making preparations for the arrival of Hurricane Isabel and are warning mariners to seek safe haven. Coast Guard Hurricane Condition Four has been set meaning Hurricane force-winds are expected to reach the area within 72 hours. Coast Guard Communication centers throughout the mid-Atlantic are broadcasting urgent notices to mariners warning them of the impending storm and advising mariners to make heavy weather preparations on their vessels. Coast Guard search and rescue capabilities may not be available immediately prior to, during and immediately after the storm passes; so mariners are warned to take early action to ensure their safety. Boaters are advised to monitor VHF-FM channel 16 and the National Weather Service. If you are unable to evade a storm, ensure you wear a lifejacket and know how to activate your distress signaling devices. Drawbridges are authorized to remain closed upon the approach of gale force winds or higher. Because of the uncertainty of weather movements and related bridge closures, mariners should seek early passage through drawbridges well in advance of the arrival of gale force winds. Coast Guard Marine Safety Offices in the ports of Hampton Roads
and Wilmington are working closely with the local, state and federal emergency management agencies to minimize damage to the port caused by the hurricane. They are tracking all vessels in port and conducting vessel and facility assessments to ensure the safety and security of the port.