Boca Marina Yacht Club - Boating Resources - Hurricane Preparation
Boating & Weather » Hurricane Preparation
Ignoring a natural phenomenon will not make its
threat go away. That's why Boca Marina Yacht Club has chosen to approach the
subject of hurricane preparedness for yacht owners.
The annual North American hurricane season begins in June and ends in November.
However, the months of August, September and October represent the highest storm
risk, and historically most storms have occurred during September. It should be
pointed out that there have been storms in all the months of the year except
April, so the absentee yacht owner should never take anything for granted.
During the average year, three hurricanes will strike the U.S. somewhere between
Texas and Maine, killing 50 to 100 people and resulting in property damage into
the millions of dollars. Coastal areas feel the greatest impact.
Recognizing that the ONLY way to minimize death and destruction from hurricanes
is through understanding and preparation, we retained a marine consultant to
evaluate Boca Marina Yacht Club and compile the following list of precautions
that pertain directly to you.
1. PRELIMINARY ACTIONS
Hurricane moorings away from the premises
should be located in advance. Permission should be obtained from appropriate
persons. For keel boats, make certain there is enough water at low tide.
A practice run should be made to check
accessibility, depth of water, bridges, locating aids and/or obstructions to
navigation and objects to secure lines to or drop anchors. (Remember, draw
bridges may not open for boats during evacuation procedures.)
Record and keep with you the vessel's
registration number (engine numbers, etc.), description, and location where
it was secured.
Inform the local Marine Patrol or police
officials of your secured vessel's identification and location.
Vacations, business trips or other reasons for
being out of town during hurricane season -- May through November -- will
necessitate your making plans with someone knowledgeable of these procedures
to care for your boat, should the need arise.
Check your insurance policy with your agent.
Be certain you are adequately protected and take any precautions required by
Lines of adequate length (several hundred
feet) and size (minimum 5/8") and preferably of nylon (for strength and
stretch) should be available. Have more than you think you will need. Line
size will vary with size of vessel.
Chafing gear for all lines should be used to
protect them from wear at contact points. Old rags are very good. If water
hose is used, be sure it is large enough for line.
Fenders of adequate size and strength (old
tires are good) should be well secured to your boat to protect it from other
boats, sea walls, etc.
Radio equipment for receiving weather
information (NOAA Weather Radio) and communications should be available.
Anchors should be oversized (twenty-five
pounds or heavier) and all methods to improve holding power should be used.
Fuel tanks should be kept full, if possible,
during hurricane season. There is not time or supply available just prior to
Batteries should be kept fully charged. An
extra or spare battery would be a good idea. Keep bilge pumps in working
3. SECURING THE BOAT
Prepare, in advance, a checklist of things
needed to secure vessel. Assemble equipment and supplies and keep them
together. Do not tie off lines to the concrete dock bollards at any time.
Tie to cleats only.
Large trees may be used to fasten vessel.
Ensure that they are alive and have good root system. Some may be stronger
than man-made pilings. Be sure to check the strength of things you tie to.
Tides can reach heights above normal,
particularly when it backs up into waterways. When securing lines, take care
to consider this. Your boat could be pulled under or damaged as the tide
Wind direction reverses itself in a hurricane.
Secure boat for all directions. (Use more than one anchor.)
Strip boat of all moveable equipment such as
canvas, sails, dinghies, radios, cushions, and lash down all you cannot
remove, such as tillers, wheels, booms, etc.
Seal all openings (air conditioning duct tape
is good) to make boat as watertight as possible.
If you leave your boat on a davit, open the
boat drains before securing.
4. HURRICANE WARNING
Leave early for safe harbor. Be sure not to
block the passage of other boats in the waterway which have moorings further
inshore. Cooperate with other skippers in securing their boats and assist
them as long as safe and prudent. Follow the directions of the police.
Remember, there may not be room for your boat at the last minute.
Do Not Stay Aboard! Even small hurricanes with
sustained winds of 75 MPH have gusts of 110 MPH that would blow anyone off
the deck. Rescue efforts are impossible. If living on board, do not stay on
board. Seek safe shelter on land.
Do Not Attempt to Leave the Area! (unless you
have a fast boat and are prepared to travel long distances in rough
5. AFTER THE HURRICANE
Check for damage to boat and equipment before
When proceeding to home port, watch carefully
for obstructions, loose debris in the water, etc. Markers and other aids to
navigation may be missing.
In the event of a hurricane, both the Homeowners
and the Association have a great deal to do. Often it has been unclear as to the
responsibilities of the Association and those of the Homeowners.
The staff of the Association is responsible to secure items in the common area.
These include: removal of pool furniture of tennis court nets and screening
securing all items in the compound area
securing the club house, guard house, and
installing hurricane shutters
securing all HOA vehicles
Individual Homeowners are responsible to:
Boca Marina Staff will not be available to assist!
Please remember that damage caused by your boat is your responsibility. If you
are not in residence at the time of the storm, it is still your responsibility
to make the necessary preparations. Plans should be made to have all boats
properly secured and as far away from the seawall as possible. At the time of a
hurricane, watch boats should be secured with lines across the canals to keep
from damaging the boat against the seawall. Boats on lifts must be lowered into
the water and secured. On the lift, they could turn as a missile.
If the Homeowners are requested by Police or other authorities to leave the
community, plan ahead by having your car filled with gas and a place selected to
go. Roads become congested and travel is a problem the closer we get to the
arrival of the storm.
The security guards will remain on post until the storm conditions require they
leave. Remember to lock your home and make preparations for your valuable papers
and other items you cannot afford to lose.