Boaters rush to keep vessels away from Hurricane Matthew

Coast Guard: Don't ride out hurricane in boat

MIAMI – The Dinner Key Marina in Miami's Coconut Grove and the Pompano Beach Marine Center were some of the waterfront facilities swarming with boaters trying to keep their vessels safe ahead of the storm. 

The U.S. Coast Guard was encouraging boaters to make safety a priority on Wednesday. And many were listening, as lines of boats rushed into the canals in Broward County. 

All bridges in Broward and Miami-Dade counties will be locked in the downed position and closed to marine traffic at 8 p.m. 

The Snake Creek Bridge in Monroe County is scheduled to be locked in the down position from 6 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. on Thursday. Drawbridges will not be operable for boat traffic if sustained winds reach 25 mph or when an evacuation is in progress.

Authorities were expecting Hurricane Matthew to affect South Florida weather, as some areas were under tropical storm watch and others under hurricane watch. 

Meteorologists warned recreational boaters and commercial vessels that the hurricane's adverse effects can cover an area of hundreds of miles wide. 

About 1 p.m., on Wednesday, a Coast Guard spokesman was meeting with representatives from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Miami-Dade Marine Patrol in an effort to educate the public. 

The meeting was at the Coast Guard Air Station Miami, 14750 NW 44 Ct., in Opa-Locka. 

Capt. Jeffrey A. Janszen of the Port of Key West has set Hurricane Port Condition Zulu, which sets a safety zone for the port . No vessels may enter or transit within the safety zone without the permission of the captain of the port. 

How to prepare boat, trailer before hurricane

- Remove small boats from the water and move them to a secure location

- Ensure the trailer and boat are secured above flood areas

- Remove all loose items and leave nothing unsecured

- Ensure the boat is tied securely to the trailer

- Large boats need to be in a safe haven 

- Use extra fenders such as used tires to protect the boat

-Double up and secure mooring lines

- Secure all hatchets and portals

- Cover windscreens

- Take down mast

- Report oil, gasoline or chemical spills to the Coast Guard

- Contact your insurance carrier to get special instructions 

- Keep this handy- Coast Guard frequencies are Channel 16 VHF/FM or 2182 MHZ

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