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June 11, 2009

Hurricane Safety: Part III – Preparing For and Choosing Dockage

Filed under: Miscelaneous — Tags: , , — Robert Jordan @ 7:54 pm

Editor’s Note: This is a continuation of our series on hurricane safety. Hurricane season started June 1st. In part I, Rob told a story of hurricane survival. In part II, we outlined, the safest dockage locations on the New River. Here, we will discuss actually docking.

Finding a safe location is one thing, finding a good slip and docking in the slip are another. One sailor docked in a safe location in the Virgins and left his boat to ride out the hurricane on shore. When he came back, his boat was mangled against the dock. Her bowsprit was ripped off and lay tangled against the bow. The mooring had broke loose, and he had not secured her enough with lines and fenders. In hurricane damage, not only the location but also the dock and docking equipment are vulnerable.

The dock can be at fault even if the location is safe. Once you find your location, check the slips for good cleats. You cannot risk a bad cleat and the disastrous damage. Make sure the cleats are tightly secured to the dock and not rusty or foul. Check the pilings, too. Your boat depends on them to stay in place.

Check the slip’s draft as well. How much room do you have? Look at the low and high tide marks where the barnacles stop growing. Always give yourself some room to spare. In a hurricane, the tides are extreme with riptides and surges reeking havoc.

Now if the slip is okay, your last weakness becomes your equipment. Most importantly, you cannot invest too much in good lines and fenders. Do not try to skimp. With as many lines as possible, tie your boat down. Make sure you tie a breastline across the canal. A breastline is the most secure way to stabilize your yacht. Most damage is from a boat banging against a dock. By tying across the canal you’ll have a line keeping you away from the dock. Never tie to another boat. A boat is a moving object, and you’ll just end up in a mass of wreckage in the central harbor.

Make sure you choose a good shape slip when you find your safe location. Use all your lines and fenders. Tie a breastline across the canal. Jordan Yachts will help you find dockage and prepare for hurricanes. Contact us, and we’re happy to help.

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