ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Coast Guard established an Incident Command for Hurricane Michael response in St. Petersburg, Tuesday.

The Coast Guard continues to urge residents along Florida’s Gulf Coast to heed all local weather warnings and use these tips to stay safe:

  • Call 911 or use VHF-FM Channel 16 to report emergencies. Social media should not be used to report life-threatening distress due to limited resources to monitor the dozens of social media platforms during a hurricane or large-scale rescue event.
  • Stay clear of beac hes. Rip currents can continue well after the storm passes. Even the best swimmers can fall victim to the strong waves and rip currents caused by hurricanes.
  • Check with local authorities before entering any storm-damaged area. Do not rush to your boat. Boaters should not place themselves in danger to get to a boat.
  • Do not try to reach your boat if it has been forced into the water and is surrounded by debris. Wait until authorities have made safe access available. Do not try to board a partially sunken boat; seek salvage assistance from a professional.
  • To report any pollution contact the National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802.
  • Navigation hazards, including unforeseen shoaling and submerged objects are common after storms. Navigational aids may be damaged or have moved. Use caution when transiting any waterway impacted by Hurricane Michael.
  • Storms move quickly and are unpredictable. You can always replace a boat; you cannot replace a life