We are most thankful that Hurricane Dorian left us alone, and we wish the very best for those who were impacted by that severe weather event.
This is our 35th year of operations here in Southwest Florida, and we are no strangers to the annual threat of hurricanes. We have learned a good deal during that time. First and most importantly, don’t panic. Have a plan in place and work the plan.
Do not wait until the event is on its way to think about your plan. It needs to be completed well in advance of hurricane season. At the start of every summer, we check our inventory of food supplies, water, batteries and other essentials needed if the weather turns bad. Ditto at home, remember medicines, pet supplies and important papers like insurance documents. There’s really no substitute for photos of your home and boat with photos of your belongings on land and at sea. And, taking those photos with your phone will be just fine.
We start and run the generator at home, too, just to be sure it runs. We top off our gas cans and add stabilizer, an important step if you plan to keep that fuel stored for a while.
At our marina, all of the power and sail craft in our fleet have plenty of extra lines. If we get word that a major tropical storm or hurricane is likely heading toward us, we put in place our plan to secure boats. If we are 5-7 days out, we will generally put anything that can blow away inside the boats. We remove small pieces of canvas, loose deck chairs and the like.
If the track holds and we are definitely in the path of the storm, then we start our final preparations, securing the vessels with extra lines, tying off sails so they don’t come loose, put out extra fenders, lash down dinghies and make sure there’s nothing that can become a missile once the weather event hits. We make certain that lines are loose enough to allow boats to ride up and down with the storm surge. Then we wait and hope and pray that Mother Nature won’t be too tough on us.
If you need help with your hurricane preparedness plan or want to update the one you have, do a search on the web. I know our friends at BOAT US visit this topic regularly and have a great deal of information that can be of assistance that’s accessible on their website.
Please remember, don’t panic. Get your plan done well before the season and like good Scouts, always be prepared on land and at sea!
Barb Hansen manages Southwest Florida Yachts, yacht charters and Florida Sailing & Cruising School, a liveaboard yacht school. Contact her at [email protected], phone: 239/257-2788.
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