A tropical storm is brewing in the West Atlantic and it’s headed straight for Florida. What are your options? First you better have a hurricane plan in place long before any storm shows itself on the maps. Small boats should be hauled out and taken to a place of refuge. Preferably someplace high and dry! What if you can’t haul it out or don’t have any place to take the boat if you could? You have three options.
Option 1 – Bahamian Mooring
You’re docked in a canal – take the boat off the dock and tie it off in the middle of the canal. Tie off one side to the dock. Get in your dingy (if you have one) and row to the opposite shore with the dock lines and tie the boat off to whatever is available; which in a lot of cases is a stand of mangroves. If it’s in a canal with docks on both sides – set up a plan with your cross canal neighbor to use their pilings for a tie up and visa versa.
It doesn’t hurt to set an anchor off the bow. Back in the dingy and row out about 100 feet from the bow. Make sure you tie a “trip” line to the base of the anchor stock with a float (bumper) on the pick-up end. Most anchor types such as Danforth and CQR have a ring installed at the base for just this purpose. If the anchor gets caught under a root or a big piece of coral you’ll need the trip line to “back” out the anchor, given that you have survived the storm.
Back aboard, pull on the anchor line until it comes up snug, back out the line a bit and tie it off. If you’re a traditionalist, you’ll rig a bridal from the port and starboard bow cleats so that the “pull” on the anchor is off the centerline of the bow and not one side or the other. Make sure you’ve installed the chafing gear. Next step? Head for high ground!
Option 2 – One Side Cross-Tie
If there is no cross canal tie up available, or you are on an open bay, you have to keep the boat tied to the dock. Double up all lines and install fender boards and additional fenders/bumpers. Install chaffing gear on the dock lines for all the obvious reasons. Next, stay close to the boat so you can adjust the lines as the water rises! Make sure to keep your own life jacket close at hand.
Whatever you do, don’t leave your boat on a lift. Most boat insurance companies have a clause in their insuring agreement that requires you to have the boat off the lift during a named storm. Why? Because time and losses have proven that more boats are damaged or destroyed when stored on a lift during a tropical storm or hurricane than those that were tied to a dock. Check with your insurance company.
Option 3 – SlideMoor Boat Docking System
Install a set of SlideMoors on your dock.
Hurricane Charlie caused catastrophic damage to boats in the Charlotte Harbor. However, the boats that were on SlideMoors all survived the storm with little if any damage. Before the storm SlideMoor had approximately 11 customers in the area, and now there are over 1,100 and counting.
During Hurricane Katrina, a customer in Slidell, LA had two boats docked in a canal off the big lake on SlideMoors. They both survived the massive 20-foot surge of water that came ashore. He told us that when he left his boat on the dock he fully expected not to find it when he returned. Much to his surprise, even though his house was totally destroyed and the canal was filled with broken and sunken boats, his two boats survived and only had superficial damage.
The same goes for Hurricane Sandy and numerous other tropical and sub-tropical storms. The boats on SlideMoors survived with minimal, if any, damage. Read the many testimonials from some very happy customers!