St. Petersburg, Florida -- The Coast Guard is encouraging boaters to stay off the water due to the approach of Tropical Storm Karen impacting the Tampa area.
Boaters, especially those from Tampa along the Gulf Coast to Yankeetown, are urged to secure their vessels.
Boaters should take necessary precautions to ensure their personal safety due to strong gusty winds associated with the outer weather bands of tropical storms. Heavy seas, significant rain and damaging winds may accompany and present serious dangers to boaters. Rescue and assistance by the Coast Guard and other agencies may be degraded as the storm approaches.
Drawbridges along the coast may deviate from normal operating procedures prior to a storm. They are generally authorized to remain closed up to eight hours prior to the approach of gale force winds of 34 knots or greater and whenever an evacuation is ordered. Because of the uncertainty of weather movements and related bridge closures, mariners should seek passage through drawbridges well in advance of the arrival of gale force winds. When in doubt, check in advance with the local Coast Guard marine safety office.