Dominican Republic

Hurricane preparation tips for boaters

Ph. Roger Ramirez

Hurricanes are enormous cyclonic storm systems covering thousands of square miles which usually develop in the tropical or subtropical latitudes during the summer and fall. To be a hurricane, the system must be producing winds of 64 knots or more. With today’s modern communication net to warn them, people have a better chance to reach safety before a hurricane hits their area. Even so, you may have little more than 24 hours advance notice to get your boat secured against the storm’s full force. Therefore, check the weather forecast often. Below some useful tips to help out in this process.

1. Develop a detailed plan of action to secure your vessel in the marina (if permitted).

2. Owners of non-trailerable boats in wet storage have options that include the following: 1) Secure the boat in the marina berth; 2) Moor the boat in a previously identified safe area; or 3) Haul the boat to the nearest shipyard.

3. Owners of boats remaining in a marina berth can take the following precautions: Double all lines. Rig crossing spring lines fore and aft. Attach lines high on pilings to allow for tidal rise or surge. Make sure lines will not slip off pilings. Inspect pilings and choose those that appear the strongest and tallest, and are installed properly.

4. Cover all lines at rough points or where lines feed through chocks to prevent chafing. Wrap with tape, rags and rubber hoses or leather. Install fenders, fender boards or tires if necessary to protect the boat from rubbing against the pier, pilings and other boats.

5. 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

6. When a hurricane is impending, and after you have made anchoring or mooring provisions, remove all portable equipment such as canvas, sails, dinghies, electronics, cushions, biminis and roller furling sails. Lash down everything you are unable to remove such as tillers, wheels and booms.

7. Maintain an inventory of both the items removed and those left on board. Items of value should be marked so that they can be readily identified. You should also consider maintaining a video or photographic record of the boat and its inventory in a secure location other than the vessel itself for future reference.

8. Consolidate all records including insurance policies, a recent photo of your vessel, boat registration, equipment inventory, and the lease agreement with the marina or storage facility. Ensure that you include the telephone numbers of appropriate authorities, such as the Dominican Coast Guard, Harbor Master, your insurance agent, and claim reporting number of your insurance carrier, and keep them on hand.

9.Do not stay aboard. Winds, during any hurricane, can exceed 100 mph and tornadoes are often associated with these storms. Above all, safeguard human life.

* Article contributed by IBI Nautica

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