SEC VA MSIB 502-23 - Port Condition YANKEE


September 21, 2023

Dear Subscriber,

From U.S. Coast Guard Sector Virginia:

SUMMARY: Due to the approach of Tropical Storm Ophelia and associated gale-force winds, the Coast Guard Sector Virginia Captain of the Port has set Port Condition YANKEE as of 4:00 p.m., September 21, 2023. Gale-force winds are expected to reach the Virginia Capes within 24 hrs.  The Port of Virginia remains open to all vessel traffic and commercial activities; however, all mariners are advised to take prudent actions in preparation of the approaching storm. Vessels should strive to complete cargo operations and ensure any departures from the port prior to the setting of Port Condition ZULU. 

SITUATION: The National Weather Service predicts sustained gale force winds of 35-40 kts, with possible gusts as high as 55 kts at the Virginia Capes, Chesapeake Bay, its tributaries, and the coastal waters of southeast Virginia. Strongest winds are expected Friday, between 6:00 p.m. and Saturday 12:00 p.m. Hazardous marine conditions are expected Friday late afternoonand persist through mid-day Saturday due to strong winds and 8-12 foot seas offshore of Cape Henry.

MONITORING: Facility operators should make preparations to ensure all loose cargo, cargo equipment, and debris are secured. Vessels at facilities shall carefully monitor their moorings and cargo operations. Additional anchor(s) should be made ready to let go and preparations shall be made to have a continuous anchor watch during the storm. Engine(s) should be made immediately available for maneuvering. Also, vessels should maintain a continuous listening watch on VHF Channel 16. 

Mariners should consider altering plans to avoid possible hazardous conditions; remain in port, seek safe harbor, alter course, and/or secure the vessel for severe wind and waves.

Based on current forecasts, the Captain of the Port intends to close the coastal waters of Virginia from Cape Charles Light south to the Virginia-North Carolina border to all vessel traffic at 4 p.m. on Friday, September 22, 2023.

Please note that with higher wind speeds and heavy surf conditions, the Coast Guard’s ability to respond to emergencies could be affected.

Due to the high winds, regional bridge operations may be impacted.

Mariners are advised to monitor the latest forecasts from the National Weather Service or other weather media outlets as conditions and forecasts may change.

COMMUNICATIONS:  For urgent safety of life issues, please contact the Sector Virginia Command Center on VHF-FM Channel 16 or call (757) 483-8567. For any other questions relating to this bulletin, please call the Waterways Management Division duty watchstander at (757) 374-3408 or email

Authority: 33 CFR § 165.501