Guides and resources for boaters in hurricane states to prepare and protect boats during hurricane season
The official start of the Atlantic “Hurricane Season” in the U.S. is June 1, and although most hurricanes hit later in the season it is never too early for boaters and marinas to start thinking about plans to prevent the worst from happening.
Most hurricanes strike the U.S. in the Gulf of Mexico, Florida and southern states. But in 2012 the super storm Sandy hit the New Jersey and New York coastlines hard and many marinas and boaters were unprepared.
In the weeks after Sandy struck boats were literally scattered across city streets, blocking traffic and interfering with access by emergency vehicles. Sailboat masts were snagged in overhead wires delaying work crews in returning much-needed electrical power. Keeping boats contained in Sandy would have facilitated recovery efforts on every front.
Personally, boating on the Chesapeake Bay we are usually well protected by hurricanes – they rarely travel up the bay to where our boat is on the northern end of the Chesapeake. We got lucky on the Chesapeake Bay with Hurricane Sandy, but we have had our share of near misses, including some big storms that impacted marina (but luckily not our boat) – like Hurricane Irene, Hurricane Earl that both caused some damage along the Chesapeake.
Hurricane Resources for Boaters and Marinas
Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) is offering free resources that are helpful for both boaters and marinas to prepare and protect ahead of a hurricane or major storm.
- The easy-to-download, print, post and share BoatUS Tips for Protecting Boats in Hurricanes is a basic two-page primer on hurricane prep for all boaters in a hurricane state.
- Boater’s Guide to Preparing Boats and Marinas for Hurricanes is the boaters guide on Hurricane prep 101, and has more details on protecting your boat and a marina.
- What Works: A Guide to Preparing Marinas, Yacht Clubs and Boats for Hurricanes is a helpful resource for community resiliency managers, local government, marina and boat club staff that focuses on facilities.
Local emergency managers, marina or club fleet operators can also download a sampling of marina hurricane preparation plans to see how their local marinas compare, learn about the value of strapping down boats stored ashore, and view features on why some marinas fare better than others.
Finally, when storms are approaching, boaters and marinas can visit BoatUS.com/hurricanes for up-to-the-minute storm tracking tools with live satellite images, as well as checklists for what to do before and after a hurricane strikes.
It is clear that the so-called “storm of the century” or “100 year storm” is not really the case anymore. These storms are getting stronger and happening more often. So its best for everyone in the boating community to be prepared and never assume that they will not (or can not) be targets of the next storm.
Much of the hurricane preparedness information provided comes from BoatUS and its Marine Insurance Catastrophe (CAT) Team, a national leader in hurricane preparedness that has over 30 years of storm salvage experience.
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