How to Increase the Chances That Your Boat Will Survive This Season's
by Wayne Spivak, National Press
Corps, United States Coast Guard Auxiliary
"The season" is almost
upon us. No, we're not talking Christmas, where our children can make the
room where you keep your tree look like a hurricane hit it - we're talking
the real deal.
That's right, hurricanes.
In 2004, Florida was hit by four major hurricanes within as many weeks (the
first, Charley began 8 August; the last Jeanne struck 13 September). Property
damage was estimated at $44 billon.
Unfortunately, the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) hurricane forecast for 2005
indicates there is a 70 percent chance of an above normal hurricane season.
The outlook calls for 12-15 tropical storms, with 7-9 becoming hurricanes,
and 3-5 of these becoming major hurricanes.
Included in 2004's horrendous
damage number were numerous boats. BOATU.S. reported in just one marina,
the Ft. Piece City Marina, some 69 boats were sunk or destroyed after Hurricane
Frances. Could damage like this have been prevented? And if the answer
is yes, then how can you protect your boat.
Here are just some of
the steps you should undertake in order to prepare for a potential hurricane.
moorings way in advance, in an inland area.
Check the moorings.
Make sure they will be able to maintain their hold in a strong wind.
Remember, storm surge
and associated tides can be 10 to 20 feet above normal. Prepare accordingly.
Wind directions change
constantly in a hurricane. Make sure your boat is secured from all points
of the compass.
Remove all items from
the boat that could go airborne and become a missile. Lash down everything
Seal all openings.
Protect portholes and other window-like structures.
When your local authorities
issue a Warning, heed it and move your vessel to its hurricane mooring.
Make sure your vessel
is not blocking movement in the area in which it is moored. In other
words, be courteous to other boaters.
Remember chafing gear
for your lines (however, make sure you get carried away with chafing
gear, as winds and movement will be extreme and you don't want a line
to be cut by a sharp edge).
stay with your vessel. Get to a protected area or emergency shelter.
Again, these are just
some of the items you should be thinking about. Even if you were to follow
every item on every list made by every pundit, your vessel could still suffer
minor to severe damage.
Hurricanes are not 100%
predictable, and as we learned in 2004, they all seem to have minds of their
own, and choose their own paths in their short and destructive lives. All
we boat owners can do is our best in protecting our boats from the fury
which is a hurricane.
The American Boating Association
PO Box 690
New Market, MD 21774