From a Marine Surveyor: Keeping your boat at a dock during a hurricane
Day 11 of the Atlantic Basin Hurricane Season.
Marine surveyors in South Florida are busy helping boat owners get ready in case a storm comes barreling through Fort Lauderdale or anywhere else in Florida. Many boat owners are faced with the tough decision about where to store their vessels. This is determined by the size of your boat and the options available to you.
If you are not sure of your choices then you may want to contact a qualified marine surveyor to advise you. A marine surveyor can give you specific advice that pertains to your unique situation.
So what if you must keep your boat at a dock, or this appears to be your best option? There are many considerations for this choice. We have all seen the effects of a storm on all of those boats docked, seemingly secure, at a marina or public dock-age. All of those vessels piled up on each other and the fact that they ended up in the parking lot or on an expressway. This does not have to be your boat. Here are some things to make sure that you do to safely dock your yacht or boat:
1. You can never have too many lines during a hurricane! So, look for a place that has plenty of places to tie down to.
2. Docks may fail, pilings may collapse, cleats will fail. Look for a place that gives you options like trees, telephone poles, and ground anchors.
3. Lines, lines, and more lines. The biggest danger during a hurricane is other boats. Those lines can become a protective force field around your vessel.
4. Anchors? If you must, make sure they are HEAVY! Use plenty of chain or a mushroom anchor.
5. Take an inventory and be ready for the insurance claim. Many other owners have not taken the time that you did to secure their boat.
You will also want to make your vessel as water tight as possible. Tape, secure, and stow equipment. Lock everything down. Remove anything that is unnecessary. These steps are imperative. Marine surveyors see this all the time after even small storms, that cooler that you thought was weighted down bounced all over your boat and sunk it.
You need to consider the storm surge. Where is you boat going to land when the sea gets angry? Is there a better resting place for your favorite girl? Take a look at your surroundings and determine the best place to tie down.
Also look at the boats around you. Any marine surveyor will tell you that most of the damage is done by boats with irresponsible owners. This does not mean that your boat is doomed. It means you need to take a look around and fix anything that you can. If that means securing a cooler on another boat or moving to another location because no one else is taking care of their boat, you need to know what to do.
This is all part of your plan. If you put your plan together than you are not doing this at the last minute. A responsible boat owner is ready and checking items off of their list. Are you ready?
Captain Paul Squire is a marine surveyor in Fort Lauderdale that offers tips and information.