HILO, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - In preparation for any possible impacts from current Hurricane Hector, Coast Guard officials are issuing safety reminders for mariners on Hawaii Island.
On Tuesday, the Coast Guard said port conditions for Hawaii County ports in Hilo and Kawaihae were set to 'Yankee,' an alert condition advising boaters that gale-forced winds are expected within 24 hours.
Port conditions 'Whiskey' remains in effect for harbors of Honolulu and Maui County.
Currently, the center of Hector is expected to pass south of Hawaii Island, but tropical storm-force winds extend outward over 100 miles from the storm's center, and officials want everyone to be prepared.
"Hector is forecast to pass almost 200 miles to the south of the Big Island, but we will not be complacent as storm tracks may shift and we can expect some severe winds," said Capt. Michael Long, Captain of the Port Honolulu.
"The residents of the Main Hawaiian Islands are dependent on the ports. I am committed to ensuring the safety of commerce and seeing the ports return to our seasonal readiness status as soon as is practical to do so," he added.
Mariners can view the latest port updates on the Coast Guard's Homeport site.
All pleasure craft shall seek sheltered waters, Coast Guard officials said. All ocean-going vessels and barges 200 gross tons and above, without an approved application to remain in port, shall make preparations to depart port before the setting of port condition ZULU.
Vessels bound for the Ports of Hilo and Kawaiihae unable to depart 24 hours before threatening winds making landfall are advised to seek an alternate destination, the Coast Guard added.
Additional safety measures for boaters include staying off the water, securing belongings and staying clear of beaches.
If the path or intensity of Hector changes, port conditions will also change.
The Coast Guard will keep mariners informed via Marine Safety Information Bulletins if anything changes.