Tsunami are usually caused by earthquakes at sea; land slides into the water, volcanoes on the seabed and meteors can also be responsible. These activities can displace hundreds of cubic miles of water; this produces a wave with a very large wave length. In deep water the tsunami moves at great speed. As the tsunami reaches shallow water the wave length shortens, it slows in speed and increases in height.

• Be aware of tsunami and know what to do if you hear a tsunami warning.

What to do if you are on land

•   Upon hearing the Siren in Road Town or East End – Listen to a Radio Broadcasting ZBVI 780am/ZROD 103.7fm/ZKING 100.9fm and listen for the announcement by the Department of Disaster Management for advice.

•   If you hear a tsunami warning and you live or work near the shore or in a low- lying area, you should evacuate to high ground. Move in a calm and safe manner and follow advice from emergency personnel.

•   If you are at the beach or near the ocean and you feel the earth shake, move immediately to higher ground. DO NOT wait for a tsunami warning to be announced. A local tsunami from a local earthquake could strike some areas before a tsunami warning is announced.

•   A Tsunami coming from a distant source will have activated a tsunami warning, and will generally give you enough time to move to higher ground. For tsunami generated locally, where you might feel the ground shake you may have only a few minutes to move to higher ground.

•   Offshore reefs and shallow banks may help to break the force of a tsunami but a large tsunami can still be a threat. Stay away from all low lying areas when there is a tsunami warning in effect.

What to do if you are on a boat

•   Keep a listening Watch on VHF Ch16 and listen for Coastguard warnings.

•   On the open ocean, a tsunami is too slight to be noticed. Do not return to port if you are at sea when a tsunami warning has been issued for your area. A tsunami can cause rapid changes in water level and unpredictable dangerous currents close to shore and in harbour/marina areas.

•   If you are onboard your boat, in a port or at anchor when a tsunami warning has been issued (if there is time) move your boat to deep water.

For tsunami information -

Department of Disaster Management – 1 284 494 4499 - www.bviddm.com
Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre – www.prh.noaa.gov
PR Seismic Network – 1 787 833 8433 – http://redsismica.uprm.edu/english/seismicity
International Tsunami Information Centre – www.tsunmaiwave.info
NOAA Ocean Explorer – www.oceanexplorer.noaa.gov

Noted Regional tsunamis

•   1918 Puerto Rico Tsunami                                                                          
1867 Virgin Island Tsunami
•   1755 The Lisbon Wave