Hurricane Season Preparation Tips

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The 2022 Hurricane Season forecasts predict some major weather events across the US. Here are some important tips that you should consider when preparing your boat for a possible hurricane. Thanks to Dick York and Buttons Padin for these tips.

Things to Do Now:

  1. Make your preparedness plan now. Standing on your boat in a rising wind trying to think of “what more should I do” is not effective. Plan now. Make a checklist from the items below, plus what you add for your specific boat.
  2. Watch the weather. If you have not already done so, sign up for the Severe Weather Alert Emails from Weather.com or some other online service. They will try to send notices out as they receive them, and will attempt to update you as new information comes in.
  3. Monitor the National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Center. The NWS can be found on the LYC website’s Weather Page, or at http://tgftp.nws.noaa.gov/data/raw/fz/fzus51.kokx.cwf.okx.txt. The NHC is at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/.
  4. Work with your boat yard and insurance company to determine what you need to do to move the boat to a safer location than your mooring. Being at the yard does not mean you can forget the preparations listed below, but you may very well have better protection from waves or wind

NOTE: McMichael Temporary Storm Storage Program – Call our yards (Post Road Yard – 914-698-4957, Rushmore Yard – 914-381-2100) to arrange for Temporary Storm Storage. When your boat gets to our yard, depending upon how many other boats are already here, your boat may be put on a mooring, secured to a dock, or hauled. The actions taken will be at the discretion of our experienced yard crews with the objective of protecting all the boats in our basin. The Storm Storage Charge is $25 per foot. This charge is applicable to all boats regardless whether the boat is hauled, on our docks or mooring. After the storm has passed, within 48 hours, we will relaunch your boat (if hauled) for you to pick-up or have delivery arranged. Boats in our yard after the 48-hour period will be charged a daily storage fee of $2 per foot.

5. Plan to take action early. Whether you are just preparing your boat on the mooring or moving it to your yard, do so with sufficient lead time. REMEMBER, DURING BAD WEATHER LAUNCH SERVICE TO MOORINGS MAY BE SUSPENDED FOR THE SAFETY OF THE WATERFRONT PEOPLE. If you get there at the last minute you may be out of luck. This may mean enlisting outside aid from a friend or professional if your employer is not compassionate.

Checklist for Boats:

Above Decks

  1. Although your anchorage or marina may have your information, it is recommended that you put your name and phone number in a plastic bag, tied to your binnacle, or other prominent spot near your helm, for quick reference by someone tending to your boat.
  2. It is critical that you tie off your wheel or tiller with stout lines. Wheel brakes are not enough. The force of a boat surging back on a mooring in stormy seas will do grave harm to your rudder if it is not tied off.
  3. Check the mooring lines as they come over the chocks. Do they need chafe gear?
  4. Are mooring lines well secured to the cleats? Tie a light line over the large mooring loops so they do not jump out off the back of the cleat when your bow pitches down.
  5. Remove the anchor and store it securely. One of the most common causes of lost boats is the anchor chafing through a mooring line.
  6. Back down on your mooring to make sure it is laying out straight. Determine where your worst waves could come from and have your bow facing that way when backing.
  7. Turn off your propane valve. If a loose gas line breaks free in all the commotion of a storm, you don’t want to fill the bilge with explosive gas.
  8. Put some tension on the rig: Tighten your backstay. If you have a one-design with loose, wire shrouds, you may want to tie them together to remove athwartships slop.
  9. All headsails should be taken down and stored below decks. Simply wrapping roller furling sails with a few extra rolls of the sheet is not enough. Those sails will blow out in the top half of the forestay, where there is nothing tying them tight.
  10. Mainsails and mizzens left on booms should be “sausaged,” by tying a line around the sail cover and sail. You cannot just wrap the line around, but you must loop around the boom, tie an overhand knot in the line, take the line two or three feet along and put another loop around the boom. Tie the loops tight, and also put a few on the mast and around the gooseneck, as the biggest danger is if the forward part of the sail cover blows open. When done, you will see a tight sausage. It normally takes me a few lengths of line to tie up the mainsail properly.
  11. Of course all dodgers, biminis, and other canvas should be removed and sent below. Make sure the remaining stainless frame is securely tied off, with chafe gear at appropriate spots.
  12. Make sure scuppers and cockpit drains are clear, and that no lines or gear will clog them in heavy rain or waves.
  13. All other loose gear on deck needs to be tied down or sent below.
  14. Move your halyards out away from the mast. Make sure they are clear of chafe aloft and below. Put some tension on them. If you have runners or checkstays, do the same with them. Allow nothing to be able to wear on the mast and spreaders, or any standing or running rigging, lifelines, etc.
  15. Make sure all lines left on deck are tied off well. You don’t want lines trailing in the water to snag the prop on a boat that is rescuing yours.
  16. Some boats may be prone to leaks at deck fittings. If your dorades leak, put the covers in. If you have a hatch that weeps under water pressure, consider some judicious tape.

Below Decks

  1. Assume the boat will pitch and roll. Put away anything that can move, as it will bash into something else.
  2. If you have anything aboard that just might leak flammable vapors, and it is stored below decks, take it home and put it in your garage. Avoid this major fire hazard!
  3. Charge your batteries before the storm. If, for some reason, someone has to start your engine, you will want full batteries.
  4. Always leave your engine intake open and the key in the ignition. With the engine starting battery on, someone could quickly start the engine to save the boat. (Note, some of you may determine that you do not want the boat to be available for powering and take a different tack on this item.)
  5. Close all through-hulls (except for, maybe, your engine intake and exhaust). If something breaks lose below, and then snaps a fitting or chafes a hose, you could have a nasty leak.
  6. Make sure your power is turned off at the batteries (except the engine starting battery). Like water from a hose, chafe could wear away a wire’s insulation and cause an electrical short and fire.
  7. Take your logbook and boat documentation home, if you do not have good copies there already.

 

McMichael Temporary Storm Storage Program – Call our yards (Post Road Yard – 914-698-4957, Rushmore Yard – 914-381-2100) to arrange for Temporary Storm Storage. When your boat gets to our yard, depending upon how many other boats are already here, your boat may be put on a mooring, secured to a dock, or hauled. The actions taken will be at the discretion of our experienced yard crews with the objective of protecting all the boats in our basin. The Storm Storage Charge is $25 per foot. This charge is applicable to all boats regardless whether the boat is hauled, on our docks or mooring. After the storm has passed, within 48 hours, we will relaunch your boat (if hauled) for you to pick-up or have delivery arranged. Boats in our yard after the 48-hour period will be charged a daily storage fee of $2 per foot.