July 12, 2006

Boating News Dealing With A Hurricane Season

After all the rain that fell upon us in June, the recent picture-perfect stretch of sunny, summertime weather has left some of us with a false sense of security. Surely the last thought on boaters' minds is that we are in the midst of hurricane season. The past two summers, my Florida relatives spent an enormous amount of time and energy preparing for several hurricanes that seemed to aim directly at them. While they sustained wind damage to both homes and property; it was not sheer luck that spared their boats.

The BoatU.S. Marine Insurance Catastrophe Response Team reviewed meteorological data and discovered that less than 25% of Florida boaters were well-prepared for the events that took place when disaster struck. Gulf Coast statistics in general, revealed even lower percentages.

Last year, Carol Robertson, the vice-president of the BoatU.S. Marine Insurance Claims Division said "The boats that did survive did so largely because time was spent early in the season to develop a basic hurricane plan which was then later implemented when faced with disaster."

The Catastrophe Response Team has developed an updated "to-do" list which is aimed at assisting boaters to organize and assemble their own hurricane plan. A free guide may be downloaded from BoatUS.com/hurricanes or a call to 800-283-2883 will allow you to receive a free copy of their Hurricane Warning preparation guide.

BoatUS. suggests that boaters do the following:

Get it now: Don't wait for the storm to draw near before obtaining needed supplies. Get the extra lines, anchors, fenders, chafing devices, tape...right now! Later, those items will have vanished from the stores.

Leave a plan: Absentee owners should take time now to designate a friend, relative or neighbor who can implement your plan if you are out of town when serious weather hits. This should include information about hauling your boat out of the water if necessary. Take time now to speak with your marina and get on their haul-out list. It's a realistic, proactive solution.

Hole it: If it can't be taken out of the water, find a protected "hole" where your boat could be secured prior to the storm.

Track changes: Monitor the weather on your own, especially since hurricanes often change track. BoatUS. noted that the normal range of error is 87 miles one day before landfall. This can mean the difference between complete destruction and moderate wind damage.

Hopefully, Mother Nature will spare us this season. In any case, it's best to be prepared!

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