ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Keeping boaters aware of the need to make early preparations for the upcoming hurricane season is a tough job for the nation's boat owners group, BoatUS. That's because we're all human - it only takes of few years after a devastating hurricane before memories start to fade, leading to a little apathy.
With the prediction of an "active" 2011 hurricane season by the renowned Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology Project just out, BoatUS says the 72% chance that at least one major hurricane will make landfall should give boaters the reason to make one early preparation.
"If your hurricane plan is to have your boat hauled and maybe strapped down, talk to your marina staff now about their plans," said BoatUS Director of Damage Avoidance Bob Adriance. "It's the one simple, easy step that could lead to a big outcome - whether or not you still have a boat when the season ends on November 30. I don't want to tell people the 'sky is falling,' but the longer you wait to have that discussion the worse shape you could be in."
Doug Hillman of Sebastian River Marina and Boatyard in Sebastian, Florida, which was recently battered by hurricanes Frances and Jeanne, says it simply, "I need my customers to start contacting me now, because I may be too busy to help them later."
The Colorado State team also predicts that there is a 48% chance that a major hurricane will make landfall on the US East Coast, including the Florida Peninsula. The University also predicts a 47% chance that a major hurricane will make landfall on the Gulf Coast from Florida Panhandle west to Brownsville, Texas.
Adriance also reminds boaters, "It doesn't take a major hurricane to damage or sink a boat, especially if you choose to do nothing."
To help boaters make preparations, BoatUS has some free online "tools" available at the BoatUS Hurricane Resource Center at www.BoatUS.com/Hurricanes