HILO, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Coast Guard and the state Harbors Division are closing ports across the state and requiring vessels to ride lit the storms in open water. This is known as "Condition III". On Hawai'i Island, the port of Hilo closed at 4 a.m. Thursday, and Kawaihae is scheduled to close at 7 a.m. The port of Kahului closes at 9 a.m. The Moloka'i and Lana'i ports close at 12 p.m. On O'ahu, the Honolulu port and other harbors are scheduled to close at 6 p.m. Officials say at this time, Kaua'i moorings will close at 4 a.m. Friday.
According to U.S. Coast Guard officials, all pleasure craft were instructed to seek sheltered waters on Wednesday and vessels transiting within the vicinity of the Hawaiian Island harbors were told to seek sheltered waters until storm conditions subside.
According to the Coast Guard's notice: "Vessels that desire to remain in port must submit a safe mooring plan in writing to the COTP and receive permission to remain in port. Once the storm has passed, and the threat of severe weather has subsided, the Coast Guard, Army Corp of Engineers and State of Hawaii will jointly conduct surveys of channel blockage and prioritize steps to resume essential, then normal, vessel traffic. These steps are to minimize risk of damage to vessels and assess the conditions of channels, aids to navigation, waterfront facilities, piers and other infrastructure."
Mariners should secure their boats and boating equipment. Owners of large boats are urged to move their vessels to protected marinas where they will be less likely to break free of their moorings or to be otherwise damaged. It may be advisable for smaller boats to be pulled from the water and stored in a place that is not prone to flooding and is protected. Regardless of location, all loose items aboard vessels should be secured or removed.
Hurricane Iselle is expected to generate extreme sea conditions, storm surge and surf of 10 -15 feet.
Visitors to Hawai'i should heed all warnings from lifeguards and public health and safety officials. Although weather conditions may apear good, rip tides and high surf may impact beaches far in advance of the actual storm.
All Hawai'i County beach parks closed Wednesday night and will remain closed until conditions improve and it is safe to reopen.