In Our Most Active Storm Season… We Must Be Prepared
When hurricanes and tropical storms threaten our coastlines; it serves as a reminder to everyone living on or near the coast to be properly prepared especially as the hurricane season enters what typically is its most active period.
First, review your insurance policy with your provider. Make sure your insurance is current and in force. Many or most policies require the policy holder to take certain precautions and actions you should take in the event of a storm.
Often boat owners are required to relocate their vessels out of a hurricane zone. Know if your marine insurance requires you to relocate the vessel and by what date specified in your policy.
People who do not plan to relocate their boats should have a Hurricane Plan detailing where and how your boat must be secured during a hurricane. Your insurer may even require this. If you live out of the area during the summer months, designate a responsible person to execute the plan in your absence.
Also, check the lease or dockage agreement with your marina, storage facility or private dock owner where your boat is moored making certain the vessel can remain there during a hurricane. If it can stay, be sure you know the procedure for securing not only your vessel, but those docked around it. A boat that breaks loose in a hurricane can wreak chaos on nearby vessels.
Some facilities demand that boats be removed from the water when a major storm is forecast. Owners who must move their boats should decide where to have it hauled before the hurricane season begins. Charges for storm haul-outs may be covered by your insurance policy.
Don’t wait until a storm is imminent as it is certain that service providers in the marine industry will have already prepared and secured their equipment and facilities for the storm and are no longer available to assist you.
10 Additional Tips for Hurricane Preparedness
- Closely monitor local and national weather services including NOAA Weather Radio and NOAA online (http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/index.shtml).
- Make an inventory, preferably by video, of all valuable fixed items such as marine electronics on board your boat.
- Store all the boat’s important documents, including your marine insurance policy, in a secure place off the vessel.
- When a storm is forecast for your area, remove all detachable items from your boat, such as canvas, sails, and cushions, fishing rigging, radios and antennas. Lash down everything that you cannot remove, including booms, tillers, wheels, etc.
- Deflate your dinghy and store it and its outboard off the boat. If it’s a fiberglass dinghy, have it stored in an indoor facility.
- If your boat is on a trailer, lash it securely. Use tie-downs to anchor the trailer to the ground, let the air out of its tires and weigh down the frame.
- If your boat is in a facility with shore power, be sure all power is turned off and all shore power cords are stowed securely. Disconnect your boat’s battery.
- Boats docked in a marina or in a private berth should be centered in the slip. Double-up all dock lines and make sure they are of sufficient length to compensate for excessive high water.
- Anchored boats should have enough scope. Inspect all anchor ropes and chain and use only good or new gear. Set extra anchors as necessary.
Do not stay with your boat or try to ride out a storm on board. No matter how valuable your vessel is to you, both financially and sentimentally, it’s not worth your life.