The 2009 hurricane season begins today and runs through the end of
November. If you have not already done so, now is the time to review and
update your hurricane plan. If you don't have a written plan,
it's important you make one.
A written plan brings home just how long preparing a vessel for an approaching
storm takes. It will also help you stay on task in the heat of the moment
when time is running out. Here are some things you should consider addressing
in your plan.
- Who will prepare your vessel for an approaching storm if you are
not able to? Most marina's and yards will be busy preparing their facilities.
You should have at least 2 people you can count on that are local to
- Do they have a copy of your hurricane plan?
- Do they know exactly where your boat is and are they familiar with
- Is your boat to be moved, pulled, or anchored if a hurricane threatens?
You should check your marina agreement closely on this. Most specify
a boat owner is responsible for damage your boat inflicts on marina
property or another boat if you leave it in the marina. Your insurance
may have limits on what they will cover if you do not move your boat
as well. Regardless, your boat and the marina will suffer
less damage if your boat is not left tied to the dock during a hurricane.
- If your boat is to be moved, detail how it will be done, how long
it will take, and how the crew will get back.
- Do you have extra lines, fenders, anchors, rode, chafing gear and
other equipment needed for preparation on your boat and is it accessible?
- List the equipment that should be removed from the boat, such as electronics,
dinghies, small outboards, misc. gear, papers, etc.
- You should also list what should be lowered or removed and stowed
to reduce windage, such as sails, furling gear, biminis and antennas.
Two more things. First, start early when a hurricane threatens. Once
warnings go up, it is typically too late. Keep in mind traffic will be
heavy, draw bridges will not open, and interstates may be one-way for
evacuation. Second, never stay aboard and ride out the storm. Very few
that have done so live to tell about it.