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What can I do to prepare myself in case a tsunami comes?


In addition to tsunami alert messages issued by warning centres and national authorities, tsunamis may be accompanied by natural warning signs and recognizing any of these signs could save your life!


Big local earthquakes can cause tsunamis

FEEL the ground shaking severely or for a long time?


Tsunamis may be preceded by a rapid fall in sea level which exposes reefs, rocks, and fishes on the bottom of the sea as the ocean recedes

Tsunamis often come ashore as a wall of water, and quickly flood inland.

SEE an unusual disappearance of water, or an oncoming wall of water?

HEARTsunamiSmartSign 01

Abnormal ocean activity, a wall of water, and approaching tsunami create a loud "roaring" sound similar to that of a train or jet aircraft

HEAR the roar?


Don’t wait for official evacuation orders as there may not be enough time

Immediately leave low-lying coastal areas

Move inland to higher ground

RUN if you see a tsunami coming!

  • Obey the instructions from local authorities.


 Source: CDEMA, 2010

For Users of Sea Vessels

  1. 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.
  2. 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 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

Download and print these boater safety tips: 

Can tsunamis occur in the Caribbean or its adjacent regions?

At least 75 tsunamis have impacted the Caribbean and adjacent regions within the last 500 years.  All known sources capable of causing tsunamis are found within the Caribbean and adjacent regions and there is also a risk from distant sources across the Atlantic.  Some countries within the Caribbean and adjacent regions are also exposed to tsunamis along their Pacific coastlines.

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