Coast Guard reminds people to stay off water after Hurricane Irene

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — The Coast Guard is urging residents and mariners to stay off the water Sunday and Monday after Hurricane Irene and to refrain from swimming at local beaches and in tidal rivers.
Tropical storm-force winds and heavy rainfall may have resulted in strong currents, marine debris and hazards to navigation.
Additionally, Coast Guard small boat station crews have returned from the inland staging areas where they deployed to during Hurricane Irene, but some are still surveying their assets. As a result, they will have reduced search and rescue capabilities until they can get their resources established.
Likewise, some Coast Guard aircraft have returned to Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., and are conducting damage assessment overflights. Their search and rescue capabilities may also be diminished.
“We are working as hard and as quickly as possible to restore our search and rescue resources and to open our navigable waterways to vessel traffic,” said Capt. Mark Ogle, the Captain of the Port of Hampton Roads. “The public can contribute to this effort by limiting recreational boating and swimming.”

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