Coast Guard sets Port Condition ZULU for New York and New Jersey

August 21, 2021

NEW YORK — The U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port (COTP) has set Hurricane Condition ZULU for the Port of New York and New Jersey. At a minimum, gale force winds from a hurricane force storm are expected to make landfall along the coast of New York/New Jersey within 12 hours.

Mariners are advised that the COTP will further manage tropical storm conditions in the ports through vessel traffic control measures. These measures will limit vessel movement in accordance with the Standard Severe Weather Practices outlined in the Captain of the Port New York Hurricane and Severe Weather Plan. These measures will be implemented by the Vessel Traffic Service based on observed and predicted wind conditions as the storm progresses.

Drawbridges may not be operating when sustained winds reach 35 knots or when evacuation is in progress.  In accordance with 33 CFR 160.109, all facilities and vessels within the Ports of New York and New Jersey shall cease cargo operations, lightering and bunkering when directed by the COTP.

In accordance with 33 CFR 161 and based on observed weather conditions, the Captain of the Port New York may impose a complete harbor closure affecting all commercial operations.  Light tugs assisting other vessels/barges and emergency vessels will normally be the only vessels allowed to operate during these conditions.

All commercial self-propelled oceangoing vessels over 500 gross tons desiring to remain or depart port must contact the COTP after setting of Hurricane Condition Zulu. Vessels bound for the port of New York and New Jersey are advised to contact the COTP at (718) 354-4088 for additional guidance. 

Please refer to Coast Guard Advisory Notice (CGAN 2021-14) for details.

“With the storm arriving in the next few hours, we are focused on coordinating with our port partners and providing the most up to date information to the public in an effort to ensure the port and its users remain safe and prepared for this weather event. Specifically for the public we serve, please remember to stay off and out of the water for now, secure all boats and paddle-craft, ensure any gear or paddle-craft are labeled, and listen to and heed all weather advisories and Coast Guard broadcasts,” said Capt. Marc Sennick, Alternate Captain of the Port for New York and New Jersey. “Experienced commercial mariners and maritime industry who we work with everyday are a critical part of our hurricane and severe weather plans.  I cannot emphasize enough how much I appreciate their proactive efforts to prepare for this storm.  Their partnership, along with our New York and New Jersey first responder colleagues truly create the fabric that makes this port special.”

The Coast Guard is advising the public of these important safety messages: 

Stay off the water. The Coast Guard’s search and rescue capabilities degrade as storm conditions strengthen. This means help could be delayed. Boaters should heed weather watches, warnings, and small craft advisories.

Secure belongings. Owners of large boats are urged to move their vessels to inland marinas where they will be less vulnerable to breaking free of their moorings or to sustaining damage. Trailer-able boats should be pulled from the water and stored in a place that is not prone to flooding. Those who are leaving their boats in the water are reminded to remove EPIRBs and to secure life rings, lifejackets, and small boats. These items, if not properly secured, can break free and require valuable search and rescue resources be diverted to ensure people are not in distress.

Stay clear of beaches. Wave heights and currents typically increase before a storm makes landfall. Even the best swimmers can fall victim to the strong waves and rip currents caused by tropical storms or hurricanes. Swimmers should stay clear of beaches until local lifeguards and law enforcement officials say the water is safe.

Be prepared. Area residents should be prepared by developing a family plan, creating a disaster supply kit, having a place to go, securing their home and having a plan for pets. Information can be found at the National Hurricane Center’s webpage.

Stay informed. The public should monitor the progress and strength of the storm through local television, radio, and the Internet. Updated weather forecasts for the New York area can be found at the National Weather Service’s webpage. Boaters can monitor its progress on VHF radio channel 16. Information can also be obtained on small craft advisories and warnings on VHF radio channel 16.

Don’t rely on social media. People in distress should use 911 to request assistance whenever possible. Social media should not be used to report life-threatening distress due to limited resources to monitor the dozens of social media platforms during a hurricane or large-scale rescue event.

Vessels and facilities may contact the Vessel Traffic Service at SECNYVTS@uscg.mil or (718) 354-4088 with additional questions or concerns.