2018 Hurricane Season - Prepare your planMay 31, 2018 by
2018 Hurricane Season begins June 1st. What is your Plan?
We hope everyone takes the best precautions they can to protect their property, and then best to just head away from the storm path if you can to protect yourselves and your family. If you don’t have a plan, now is the time to put one together. If you have a plan, now is a good time to review the plan.
This is also a good time for us to remind everyone and provide you with the best information we can with regards to protecting your boat from damage.
As boaters, there is nothing we can do to change severe weather predictions. But we can be prepared. Planning for the safety of your boat and where it will survive best is a lot like the real estate business - Location, Location, Location!
If you have doubts, it is probably best to haul it out. The first major decision, one that affects all subsequent action, is finding a safe location where you can keep your boat during a storm.
•The official hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30
•At full strength, hurricane winds can gust to more than 200 miles per hour as far out as 20-30 miles from the eye.
•The greatest danger of the hurricane, however, is from the storm surge. As the storm approaches from the sea and moves across a coastline, a storm surge of water may rise 10 feet or more above normal high tide and usually is accompanied by battering waves that will overcome coastal lowlands.
•Key factors to protecting your boat from hurricanes or any severe weather include planning, preparation and timely action…
Prior to Hurricane season
1. Develop a detailed plan of action to secure your vessel in the marina. Remove your boat from the threatened area or take your boat to a previously identified storm refuge. Check with your marina regarding their plan.
2. Arrange for a friend to carry out your plans if you are out of town during the hurricane season.
3. Consolidate all records including insurance policies, recent photos of your vessel, boat registration, and equipment inventory.
1. Determine the requirements to load and haul your boat to a safer area. Be sure your tow vehicle is capable of properly and adequately moving the boat.
2. Lash your boat to the trailer once you arrive at a “safe” place.
3. Secure your boat with heavy lines to fixed objects, trees are not typically a good idea.
1. Determine the safest and most realistic haven for your boat and make arrangements to move it there. Be sure to consider whether storm surge could rise into the area.
2. Never leave a boat in davits or on a hydro-lift during a major storm.
3. Secure the boat in the marina berth, moor the boat in a previously identified safe area, or haul the boat to a secure location and strap it down if possible.
Boats Remaining in Marina Berth
1. Double all lines and use lines that have protective coverings that reduce marring of the boats surface whenever possible. Attach lines high on pilings to allow for tidal rise or surge.
2. Install fenders to protect the boat from rubbing against the pier, pilings and other boats.
3. Fully charge the batteries and check to ensure their capability to run automatic bilge pumps for the duration of the storm. Consider backup batteries. Shut off all devices consuming electricity except bilge pumps, and disconnect shore power cables.
Prior to Landfall
1. If your plan calls for moving your vessel, and you have sufficient notice, do it at least 48 to 72 hours (or earlier) before the hurricane is estimated to strike the area.
2. Make sure that:
(a) fuel tanks are full;
(b) fuel filters are clean;
(c) batteries are charged;
(d) bilges are clean;
(e) seacocks are closed;
(f) cockpit drains are free and clear; (g) all loose items are stored, things like: canvas, bimini tops, cushions are typically excluded from coverage during a named storm;
During the hurricane
1. Do not stay aboard any vessel during a hurricane.
2. Stay in a protected and safe place. Attend to the safety of family, home and other personal property.
After the hurricane
1. A check of the vessel should be made as soon as practical to determine its condition and security.
2. If you find damage to your boat, take such action that is necessary to save and preserve property, photograph any damage, and report any loss or claim to us immediately. We are here to help!
3. If the vessel appears to be repairable (constructive total loss), arrangements will still have to be made to remove the hull from any navigable waterway as this will probably be required by government authorities. The vessel should be moved to a yard or salvage facility storage area.
These suggestions have been compiled from multiple sources including marine insurance underwriters and claims adjusters, past and present clients who live in the hurricane prone South Atlantic and Gulf states, as well as from our own experience's boat insurance and yacht insurance in these areas for over 25 years.
You may have a better plan that works for your particular location than any of these suggestions, but the key thing is to at least have a plan (and a back-up plan) and follow your plan well ahead of the storm.
Should you have damage to your vessel from the storm, please contact your agency or your insurance company as soon you can to report your damage.