Hurricane Earl Impact on East Coast Boaters

boat gear
Hurricane Earl path is projected to skim the entire East Coast of the U.S. forcing boaters to quickly prepare for the worst

NOAA weather mapBoaters along the East Coast haven’t seen too much hurricane activity in recent years. But with the current projected path of Hurricane Earl over Labor Day weekend, the impact is likely to range from inconvenient to catastrophe.

North Carolina is projected to get a direct hit from Hurricane Earl, but what will the impact be for the rest of the East Coast?

Boaters and Marinas Prepare for Hurricane Earl Impact

UPDATE: See post on Hurricane Irene Path for Chesapeake Bay and East Coast

Many East Coast boaters and marinas have been caught off guard by the unexpected path of Hurricane Earl and are uncertain how to prepare for the storm. Our marina reached out to everyone yesterday with options to prepare for the hurricane. Although our marina is at the northern end of the Chesapeake Bay, we are likely to see an impact if the storm travels close to the East Coast and past the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. At the very least, it was suggested to double or triple the lines on our boat. We were also told that it would wise to remove any loose objects on the boats or docks and take home any jet skis, dinghies or smaller secondary boats. Emptying refrigerators in case of a power outage was another suggestion. Seems prudent to take these precautions for a major hurricane like Hurricane Earl.

But the option of getting hauled out prior to a holiday weekend is a little tough to do. Who wants to pay the extra expense to have a boat hauled out if we are unsure of a direct hurricane hit? And then your Labor Day weekend is really ruined if you have to wait to get your boat dropped back into the water. Some people will get hauled out to be extra cautious – but how do you know if it is really necessary? Yes, it is better to be over prepared then under prepared… but is that being overly (or unnecessarily) cautious?

With the projected path of Hurricane Earl showing a direct hit to North Carolina, I’m sure boaters along the North Carolina coast are not just considering pulling their boats out – they are doing it right now. Boaters from North Carolina up through New England need to consider all their options for storm preparation.

Watching Hurricane Earl Projected Path Closely

Marinas, boaters and residents of the East Coast need to watch the forecast carefully over the next few days to keep posted on the projected path of Hurricane Earl. For boaters, NOAA’s Hurricane Earl Path is a good source for updates on the path as well as coastal watches and warnings. They also have good resources for hurricane preparedness on their site.

Game plans for how to prepare for the hurricane should be carefully considered now… with Plan B prepared in case anything changes as the hurricane approaches the East Coast.

hurricane isabel marina damage
Hurricane Isabel in 2003 caused an unexpected tidal surge that caught boaters off-guard and damaged boats, marinas and docks.

You never know what could happen. Back in 2003, we never expected the impact Hurricane Isabel would have on the Chesapeake Bay.

Hurricane Isabel’s path travelled up the bay and caused an unbelievable tide surge several days after the hurricane passed. Entire towns along the bay were flooded (like Annapolis, Rock Hall and Baltimore), marina docks were destroyed and many boats actually sunk. It was pretty devastating to the Chesapeake Bay and very unexpected. No one was prepared for the outcome of Hurricane Isabel.

2010 Hurricane Season Peaks in Late August, Early September

We are in the peak of hurricane season now, and after Earl passes there is a “daisy chain” of storms behind it. Just as the East Coast will be bracing or recovering from Hurricane Earl, Hurricane Fiona will be coming. The Hurricane Fiona path is now projected to follow a similar path as Earl in the Atlantic (although not skimming the East Coast) and will be somewhere between the U.S. and Bermuda by Saturday Labor Day weekend.

Boaters everywhere would be wise to take the 2010 hurricane season seriously and determine preparations as more severe storm activity is already fore-casted in the first few weeks of September.

UPDATE: The outcome of Hurricane Earl was luckily pretty tame for most of the East Coast. On the Chesapeake where we boat we actually had a beautiful weekend without a trace of rain. Most of the East Coast had high winds and rain, but not nearly as damaging as originally predicted.

Also see post on Hurricane Irene: Preparing Boats on Chesapeake Bay and East Coast

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Diane Seltzer

View posts by Diane Seltzer
Diane is the founder of as well as the boating lifestyle site for kids Active in the boating industry, Diane has also led the marketing for multiple recreational boating businesses and startups.


  1. Port Clinton DocksSeptember 3, 2010

    Hope for everyone’s safety. Wish that Earl changes its route.

  2. AnonymousAugust 31, 2010

    I remember Hurricane Isabel – our boat nearly sunk! Hopefully Hurricane Earl will not come close to the same path.

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