All boaters should make necessary preparations for Tropical Storm Bertha, the Planning and Natural Resources Department said in a Friday morning press release.
Safe havens on St. Thomas are Benner Bay, Mandahl Pond and Flamingo Bay.
On St. John, Hurricane Hole in Coral Reef National Monument is the designated safe haven. Its operations come under the jurisdiction of V.I. National Park, and Deputy Superintendent Jayne Schaeffer said the park opened up the area Friday morning to boaters. “By permit only,” she added.
Those boaters using Hurricane Hole as a safe haven got their permits at the start of hurricane season.
St. Croix’s designated safe haven is Salt River.
For boaters using DPNR’s safe havens, initial entry into the havens will be on a first-come, first-serve basis. Enforcement officers will be available to assist boaters in maintaining an organized entry and site location for vessels or to resolve difficult situations.
DPNR advises boaters to use the three-point mooring systems found in the "Survive a Hurricane" booklet available at the V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency.
Securing vessels to nearby trees will be done only when necessary and by utilizing proper chaffing material on all lines. Lines must be removed immediately after the storm.
Vessels may not anchor in or obstruct navigational channel in Benner Bay or Salt River. No vessels are allowed at Krause Lagoon or its channel on St. Croix. This area is designated a Homeland Security Zone.
During a storm, boaters should not remain on their vessels. Land-based shelters are available.
Boaters will return to regular moorings once a new bulletin is issued. However, hurricane anchors can remain for the entire hurricane season. Vessels leaving anchors in the safe havens will use one mooring ball attached to hurricane anchor line marked with the vessel’s registration number. During additional storms, vessels may return to initial location marked by mooring ball displaying vessel’s registration number.
After the storm, owners of vessels that have sunk or washed ashore must notify DPNR with the vessel’s GPS location and an estimated time when the owner will salvage the vessel. Vessel owners are responsible for removing wrecked vessels.
After the hurricane season is deemed over, all hurricane anchors and gear must be removed.
Communication to boaters by DPNR will be via press release or V.I. Radio on Marine channel 16.