Story by PO3 Matthew West on 08/07/2018HONOLULU The Coast Guard Captain of the Port set port condition YANKEE for Hawaii County Ports (Hilo and Kawaihae) as of 11 a.m. Tuesday in advance of Hurricane Hector. Honolulu and Maui County ports remain at WHISKEY. No conditions are set for Kauai at this time.
Coast Guard personnel are on the Big Island doing pre-storm assessments of the ports. At Port Heavy Weather Condition YANKEE gale force winds are predicted to arrive within 24 hours. Ports are closed to inbound traffic, and vessel traffic control measures are in effect on vessel movements within the port.
"Hector is forecast to pass almost 200 miles to the south of the Big Island, but we will not be complacent as storm tracks may shift and we can expect some severe winds," said Capt. Michael Long, Captain of the Port Honolulu. "The residents of the Main Hawaiian Islands are dependent on the ports. I am committed to ensuring the safety of commerce and seeing the ports return to our seasonal readiness status as soon as is practical to do so."
All pleasure craft shall seek sheltered waters. The Captain of the Port is directing action by the maritime and port community. All ocean-going vessels and barges 200 gross tons and above, without an approved application to remain in port, shall make preparations to depart port before the setting of port condition ZULU.
Mariners are reminded that our facilities and ports are safest when the inventory of vessels is at a minimum. While port condition YANKEE remains in effect, port facilities will be closed to all inbound commercial traffic unless expressly authorized by the Captain of the Port.
If and when the Captain of the Port sets port condition ZULU, meaning sustained gale force winds are anticipated within 12 hours, all activity will be suspended, and the ports will close until the storm has passed and damage assessment surveys are completed.
The Coast Guard reminds the public when hurricane or tropical storm force winds are present to stay off the water and clear of beaches. The Coast Guard's search and rescue capabilities degrade as storm conditions strengthen. This may delay help. Heed weather watches, warnings, and small craft advisories. Evacuate as necessary. Coast Guard personnel and other emergency responders may not be able to evacuate or rescue those in danger during the storm. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for water south of the Big Island and Hawaiian waters.
The public should monitor the progress and strength of the storm through local television, radio, and the Internet. Boaters can track its progress on VHF radio channel 16. Information is also available through small craft advisories and warnings on VHF radio channel 16.
For information on Hurricane Hector's progress and hurricane preparedness, please visit the National Hurricane Center's webpage.
The Port Conditions are:
Condition Hurricane Season Preparedness (V): Seasonal readiness, 1 June 30 Nov.
Condition Whiskey (IV): The ALERT condition in which winds above 34 knots (39 mph) are expected within 72 hours.
Condition X-Ray (III): The READINESS condition in which winds above 34 knots (39 mph) are expected within 48 hours.
Condition Yankee (II): The WARNING condition in which winds above 34 knots (39 mph) are expected within 24 hours.
Condition Zulu (I): The DANGER condition in which winds above 34 knots (39 mph) are expected within 12 hours and until the storm has passed and is no longer a threat.
The Coast Guard will continue to Broadcast Notice to Mariners and send out a Marine Safety Information Bulletin to notify the maritime community of port condition changes.
All maritime users are requested to monitor the progress of this hurricane and make preparations accordingly.