BoatU.S., the nation's largest organization of recreational boaters, recently wrapped up an industry-wide hurricane planning conference. And the news is in: thousands of recreational boaters are facing another challenging year of predicted increased hurricane activity, with potentially more frequent storms this summer and fall, and each with greater intensity.
What does this mean for boaters in hurricane states?
Based on 40 years of hurricane-related insurance claims files and speaking to countless boaters and marina operators about their hurricane plans, "We have learned that although it is difficult to prevent all damage from occurring, there are far more opportunities for hurricane damage to be lessened," says Bob Adriance, director of the BoatU.S. Damage Avoidance Program. "We are talking about the difference between some gel coat scratches or a dinged rub rail, and the total destruction or sinking of a boat," he added.
Adriance says boaters can rise to the challenge, but need to be reminded why they should spend time and effort to prepare their boats for a hurricane. Here are five potential reasons why that some boats may not make it safely through the end of the 2007 hurricane season:
- You did nothing. Year after year, some boaters fail to make a serious effort at hurricane preparation. Whether you are new to boating or been on the water for years, doing nothing or making only a token effort will most certainly lead to a bad conclusion. If you are out of town during hurricane season, pay someone to prepare your boat if a storm comes. Many insurance policies provide coverage for professional evacuation or storm preparation.
- The guy with the boat in the slip next to you, or out in the mooring field, did little or nothing. There is nothing worse than seeing a poorly prepared boat break loose and take down a dozen others that were properly prepared. Boaters need to come together to help ensure their slip or mooring mates embrace hurricane planning. Ultimately, the success or failure of your own hurricane preparation efforts depend upon the steps taken by your slip mates as well your marina or yacht club.
- You didn't talk to your marina about their hurricane plans. BoatU.S. has found that hurricane damage prevention requires a full partnership with your marina or boat club. If you have not already coordinated a hurricane plan with your marina manager, do it today. As in the day before tomorrow.
- You didn't go to http://www.BoatUS.com/hurricanes to brush up on your hurricane planning. You failed to take advantage of the free online hurricane preparation worksheet and storm planning information, or didn't use the Web site's "spaghetti" models to track an approaching storm. C'mon. It's free. You could have done it at any time of day or night.
- Your boat or yacht club's leadership didn't go to http://www.BoatUS.com/hurricanes to review the best club hurricane planning guide ever, written by their peers at the Houston Yacht Club. HYC has developed the most comprehensive boat and yacht club storm planning guide - developed from years of storm hardened experience - and it is completely free to download and discuss at your club's monthly meeting. Finger-pointing after a storm won't get your sunken boat back.
- You waited until the last minute. Did you see the weather forecast on the evening news? Chances are so did everyone else and if you've waited to buy hurricane gear such as extra dock lines, chafe protection, extra anchors and other gear, it will be long gone from the store shelves by the time you got there.