Weather is always a major topic among boaters. It determines not only where we go, when we go (or if we go at all) but also things like how many lines and fenders to put out, anchoring techniques and many more details of our lives. Everything about boating is, “weather dependent,” as Scott always says.
At this time of year, since hurricane season is from July 1-Oct. 24 according to our insurance, we start watching storms almost as soon as they leave Africa. Since Florence started to become a threat to the US she is has been a leading topic on the boating Facebook pages, forums, and e-mails. For a boater it is more than just the hurricane’s winds that affect us, it is the wave height, storm surges, condition of marina’s docks, nearby boats that are not secured properly…
We have to prepare in advance, especially if we haul the boat out of the water which is usually the preferred method of protection according to the insurance companies. In fact, ours will pay up to $5000 for taking actions to protect the boat. To prepare in advance one has to figure out the path of a storm and know if, when, and how much action is needed. And, you can’t wait until the last minute or there will be no space available in boat yards, marinas or hurricane holes. The tension starts early and escalates daily.
Our first plan was to haul the boat into the same boatyard that we just left as we are still docked there. So we packed a weeks worth of clothes and personal items and placed them in the salon. Then, we decided to wait, and wait, and avoid making the decision as long as possible. It’s a lot of work taking off all of our stuff and food and moving to our daughter’s apartment. There’s a good chance we would not have electricity on land if we were to haul out so we would have to move all the food or possibly lose it.
Our current plan is to stay on the dock where we are and put out extra lines (ropes) and fenders (bumpers). The two of us make these decisions together after much online research and phone discussions with seasoned boaters.
On a positive note…we received our new 4-person Winslow Life Raft! We chose a valise that only weighs 50 lbs. Our old one that came with the boat hadn’t been serviced in several years because the manufacturer was no longer in business. It’s an expensive piece of insurance that gives us some comfort when we are off shore. And, if we actually have to deploy it to be rescued they will replace it for free!
Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those on land and sea that are affected by Hurricane Florence.