Friday, October 26, 2012

Huricane Preparation

Not the common "double you lines" or "haul out" sort of advice. Small things that don't make the standard lists. I'm not on the sea coast and even a direct huricane hit on the Chesapeake is a tropical storm without the waves; a mess and quite strong, but very survivable with moderate preparations.
  • No sharp stuff. Check your docks for nails, hose hangers, and any hazardous dock accessories. I almost lost my boat when the rope looped over a rusty nail left in a finger dock by a prior tenant nearly sliced a line in half over night during a winter storm.
  • Limited slack. Too much slack and the tugging becomes extreme. Too much slack and a line can hook on too something it shouldn't. Check length by taking each line off its cleat, raising the line to the hieght of  the expected surge with the slack just removed, and recleating to that length. Spring lines generally need less slack than bow and stern lines. Also consider extra low tide; sometimes there is a reverse surge, depending on wind dirrection. The upper Cheaspeake is expected to see up to 5 feet below average low tide, which will put many (most?) boats on the bottom. Will your boat lean?
  • Chafe gear. Make certain it is secured and won't shift. I've been using this for 25 years and believe in it. I didn't start marketing it until I had spent 20 years proving the product on boats and industrial applications.
  • Check window seals. The most common source of leaks is dirt in the seal, so wipe the seals clean. 15 hours of horizontal rain will find any leaks.
  • Make certain the dingy can drain. Remove any screen or flapper valve from the drain; they're a bad idea anyway. Clean the inside of leaves and junk. Tilt more than normal on the davits. Support with tricing lines. Of course, you could take it off.
  • Secure the roller furler. Wrap the spinnaker halyard around the furled sail in the reverse direction, so that it cannot unfurl. Secure the sheets and furler line on winches. Or you could take it off.
  • Remove any tarps. They'll just beat themselves to death and add windage.
  • Seal the slider. Stuff towels in the cracks, because it will allow spray in.
And go home and take down the Halloween decorations, I supose. Damn.


  1. Good points.

    A boat down here recently sank during Hurricane Isaac because they didn't have enough slack in the lines and left the galley sink thru hull open. When the lines held the boat down and the water level rose it started gushing water out of the sink and eventually sank. So try to get good forecasts on anticipated surge.

  2. Great advice, especially the one about "no sharp stuff". It's those little things that can really get ya!

    Luckily, we're out of Sandy's path here in Louisiana. Isaac was enough! Glad to hear you're not in her path either!