Officials is Florida issued a reminder on Monday to boat owners to secure their boats well in advance of the oncoming hurricane, and with that storm now projected to track up the east coast of the U.S., this is a warning that would be well heeded by boaters along the entire coastline, from Florida to New York.
“Now is the time to properly secure your vessel to make sure it doesn’t break free and cause damage to property or result in people getting injured,” warned Capt. Tom Shipp with the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission Boating and Waterways Section.
Boats kept in the water need special attention. Vessels that break free can cause problems to waterways by causing fuel and oil pollution, drifting into bridges, docks, seawalls and piers, and interfering with navigation. In addition, the boats themselves can sustain damage. The decision to haul a boat out in advance of a storm cannot be made at short notice. Make arrangements ahead of time to assure there will be room for your boat to be stored at local yards and facilities, which often fill up quickly as a storm advances.
Boats on trailers should be secured in a safe location. The concern is for the safety of the boat, but as well, the prevention of damage the boat can inflict if caught by high winds. FWC recommends that tires be partially deflated, trailer wheels blocked and the boat tied or anchored down, or filled with additional weight to help keep it in place.
Hurricane Irene had reached Category 3 status by Wednesday, with sustained winds at 115 mph and strengthening projected throughout the day. The eye of the storm was positioned at the southern end of The Bahamas, moving west-northwest at 9 mph. The particular track of this storm was expected to generate exceptionally large waves along the coastline parallel to the storm track. The Forecast Cone published by the National Hurricane Center showed a projected landfall near Cape Hatteras this weekend.
Tropical storms and hurricanes are unpredictable. All boaters are urged to keep up to date on the path of this storm and take the appropriate actions. To find out more about properly mooring vessels, go to www.MyFWC.com/Boating.
Keep track of the oncoming storm at the NOAA’s National Weather Service National Hurricane Center website at www.nhc.noaa.gov