What to do?
Tsunami Safety for Boaters
- Since tsunami waves cannot be seen in the open ocean, do not return to port if you are at sea and a tsunami warning has been issued. Port facilities may become damaged and hazardous with debris. Listen to mariner radio reports when it is safe to return to port.
- Tsunamis can cause rapid changes in water level and unpredictable dangerous currents that are magnified in ports and harbors. Damaging wave activity can continue for many hours following the initial tsunami impact. Contact the harbor authority or listen to mariner radio reports. Make sure that conditions in the harbor are safe for navigation and berthing.
- Boats are safer from tsunami damage while in the deep ocean ( > 100 m) rather than moored in a harbor. But, do not risk your life and attempt to motor your boat into deep water if it is too close to wave arrival time. Anticipate slowdowns caused by traffic gridlock and hundreds of other boaters heading out to sea.
- For a locally-generated tsunami, there will be no time to motor a boat into deep water because waves can come ashore within minutes. Leave your boat at the pier and physically move to higher ground.
- For a tele-tsunami generated far away, there will be more time (one or more hours) to deploy a boat. Listen for official tsunami wave arrival time estimates and plan accordingly.
- Most large harbors and ports are under the control of a harbor authority and/or a vessel traffic system. These authorities direct operations during periods of increased readiness, including the forced movement of vessels if deemed necessary. Keep in contact with authorities when tsunami warnings are issued.
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