Watching Hurricane Bill from the waterfront

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Boaters and marine businesses throughout the East Coast of the United States are keeping an eye on Hurricane Bill as it moves west toward Bermuda.

An advisory this morning from the National Hurricane Center showed the storm, now a Category 3 hurricane, about 380 miles north-northeast of the Leeward Islands and about 695 miles south-southeast of Bermuda. Bill is moving toward the northwest at nearly 18 mph. This general motion is expected for the next day or so, with a turn toward the north-northwest by late Friday.

Large swells associated with Bill will impact the islands of the northeast Caribbean Sea, the Bahamas and Bermuda during the next day or so, according to the advisory. Large swells should also begin to affect portions of the U.S. East Coast Friday and Saturday.

Hurricane Bill is unlikely to be as damaging as the huge hurricanes that battered the U.S. in 2004 and 2005, however, because forecasters expect the storm to veer away from the U.S. and remain over the open waters of the Atlantic during the next five days, according to MarketWatch.com.

Still, government officials in Bermuda are urging residents to secure boats and take other precautions as soon as possible, according to a report in The Royal Gazette. The U.S. Coast Guard is also urging boaters and swimmers about the dangers associated with hurricane swells and rip currents, according to an article on Wavy.com.

In related news, British rower Peter Bray was forced to abandon his attempt to cross the Atlantic solo because of Hurricane Bill, reports CBCnews.ca. Also, the Baltimore Sun reports that cruise ships scheduled to leave the Chesapeake toward Bermuda this weekend might have to change their itinerary.

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