Hurricanes: How do you Plan, Monitor Weather, and Prep

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by FootballFan, Aug 24, 2022.

  1. FootballFan

    FootballFan Well-Known Member

    Jun 20, 2012
    Florida
    Marquis 59
    MTU Series 60
    For those who have boats on the coast with potential impact from Hurricanes, how do you approach the season?

    Specifically:

    What is your early season preparation?

    What is your source for weather information? What sources do you utilize to monitor storms, intensity, and direction?

    What is your trigger point to start taking action?

    What are your actions once your trigger point is hit?

    My interest is more than curiosity or conversation.

    Looking for ideas on how I can improve what I am doing.

    I will post my answers in a reply.

    Thanks,
     
  2. FootballFan

    FootballFan Well-Known Member

    Jun 20, 2012
    Florida
    Marquis 59
    MTU Series 60
    What is your early season preparation?

    In my previous slip, no way I would stay there for even a Cat 1. I maintained a haul out contract at a boat yard, used it once and took the boat out of the water. Current slip I am comfortable staying in the slip during a storm.

    Before the season begins, I inventory everything that is needed. Lines, chafing gear, duct tape, etc. Procure any items that might be needed. Since there are times we are cruising during the season, I have a dedicated set of slip and storm lines.

    I hang extra lines on all the pilings which are not directly accessible from the finger pier or dock to enable easy quick changes/doubles. These are quickly available to double up lines when it comes time for additional tie up.

    What is your source for weather information? How do you monitor storms, intensity, and direction?

    I live 1,000 miles away from the boat in the middle of the country. Local news doesn’t highlight storms until they become a news item (ie: getting close to a coast).

    My primary source is a private weather source that I subscribe to. Not terribly expensive, but uncannily accurate about what will happen with storms. His call on direction and intensity is often time 24-48 hours in advance of NHS. He also provides very good explanations about why he is making the statements. This is not a “should I go boating and will the water be rough today” service, very focused on storms.

    Once a storm is inbound, I use NHS a lot for surge forecast’s, directions, model overlays. Over the years have looked at several model display sites but haven’t ever relied on any exclusively. Seems like they come and go.

    Also rely on local contacts who have a lot of experience with previous storm paths and impacts.

    What is your trigger point to start taking action?

    Over the years I have looked extensively at storm tracks in the past. Talked with locals about what they have seen. Granted what makes planning difficult is Hurricanes can do things very unexpected – so history is no guarantee.

    There are 3 typical paths for a storm to get to us: Through the Keys and up the west side of FL, up the gulf then an east turn into the coast near us, or the most dreaded which is across the peninsula and hitting the west coast still a hurricane. If a hurricane can cross over and still remains a hurricane – that’s a big storm.

    Typically starting action about 2-3 days before forecasted hit when it is clear there is a possible path to us.


    What are your actions once your trigger point is hit?

    I have a local retired captain that watches over the boat when I am not in FL. He lives within a couple of miles of the boat and mine is the only boat he is taking care of.

    Lines are retrieved from pilings and put in predetermined tie off points. Lines on finger pier and dock are added and tied off to pilings, centering boat in slip. Depends on the storm, how fenders are or are not deployed. With the lines all prepositioned-on pilings and a defined tie up plan, takes 2-3 hours tops.

    Tender stays on platform. Line is run from lower hull cleat around the swim platform and tender tied off on lower hull cleat on opposite side. Smaller line wraps around tender every couple of feet to secure cover for most storms. If it looks really bad then cover (and Bimini) would be removed.

    Power cables are run out further to allow for extended boat movement and tied off with bungees and lines. Entry holes for each cable is plugged, covered, then duct taped over.

    Cockpit table and bench covers removed and stowed inside. Any fenders not deployed moved inside.

    Only canvas I have is sides on the fly bridge. Last couple of years have left it in place, though the year I did haul out we stripped it. Have heard a lot of opinions, currently fall into the “leave it in place” camp.

    Secure the helm cover canvas with Duct Tape (I hate duct tape being used, so hard to clean up).

    Overall full prep as defined is a few hours. Once the boat is prepped for the first storm, unless we travel to the boat, nothing is undone. Can’t imagine a full season that we would not be on the boat, so some of this is undone, then re-done for the next storm.

    Given the layout of the slip and what is around me, not as worried about other boats breaking loose and causing damage.

    Some items like checking bilge pumps are working and clear are done once a week year around.
     
    copb8tx likes this.
  3. ttmott

    ttmott PhD in OCD TECHNICAL Contributor GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 3, 2012
    Space Coast Florida
    2006 52 Sedan Bridge
    Cummins QSM11
    First of all I have a plan written down. I gave the plan to the marina and my insurance company.
    Most of everything I need is staged in the shop and I can throw all of it in the truck for the prep.

    T-2 Days on a predicted major storm -
    Fill the boat with fuel, water, and pump out.
    All of the lines on the boat get doubled up. The boat gets moved forward away from the dock about 6 feet. The second aft lines go to chains on the concrete piers under the dock walkway.
    Aftward spring lines get added.
    We have seen water rise about three feet so the lines provide for that rise.
    Tender/dinghy gets taken to the shop and stored.
    All of the fenders come out including the 24 inch round fenders from the shop and get tied along the sides.
    Canvas comes down and the helm and helm seats get tarped up and taped with strapping tape.
    Bridge carpet comes up and gets stored in the solon.
    All of the cushions and anything under the cushions go into the solon.
    The back cockpit seat gets tarped and taped.
    The bow cushions, covers, windshield cover and whatnot gets removed and stored in the solon.
    The marina turns off the dock power so I check the batteries for full charge and turn off all battery power - bilge pumps stay up. I'm vexed on leaving the inverters active as that is the boat's cameras.
    All seacocks get closed except for the HVAC seacock.
    Sliding glass solon door gets closed, locked and taped using Clean Room tape
    All of the deck hatches get taped.
    All of the hatches, doors, and lockers get taped around the perimeter.
    I take a look at the other nearby boats in the marina and see if they need any help and they are just as secured.
    Check in with the marina staff.

    T-1 Day
    Get my house secured and top off the generator diesel tank.
    Get the hurricane shutters installed.
    Get the little boat off the dock and in the shop.
    Check with my neighbors and make sure they are OK.
    Go and stock up with Gin and food.
    Go back to the marina and fidget and worry.

    T-0 Day
    Hunker down.

    T+1
    Clean up the house and yard.
    Get to the boat somehow and start getting it back together.
     
    copb8tx, Shaps and SKybolt like this.
  4. FootballFan

    FootballFan Well-Known Member

    Jun 20, 2012
    Florida
    Marquis 59
    MTU Series 60
    Tom, thanks for your feedback.

    What are your primary sources for weather information regarding storms?
     
  5. ttmott

    ttmott PhD in OCD TECHNICAL Contributor GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 3, 2012
    Space Coast Florida
    2006 52 Sedan Bridge
    Cummins QSM11
  6. Alex F

    Alex F Well-Known Member

    Nov 14, 2006
    Miami / Ft Lauderdale
    2005 420DB with AB 11 DLX Tender, Raymarine Electronics (2x12" MFDs) with Vesper AIS
    Cummins 450Cs, 9KW Onan Generator, 40HP Yamaha for tender.
    Tom,
    The tape you're referring to sound the same as the shrink-wrap tape. Does the glue comes off easy?

    What are you doing with all electronics covers? I assume you take them off. If so, how do cover the helm electronics or do they stay exposed?

    I've heard the policy, in some places, on taking off the dinghies. But, if mine is strapped to take 6-7' seas, is the wind really has more power than a massive wave hitting the tender or when the mothership goes on a roller-coaster dealing with those seas?
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2022
  7. Mauler34Rod

    Mauler34Rod Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    374
    Aug 26, 2020
    Chicago Lake Michigan
    2001 380 Sundancer, Raymarine radar, chart plotter and gps
    454 MPII Mercruiser w/ V Drives
    You guys definitely got it down and I know the trade offs, but sure glad I’m on the big lake….no hurricanes or sharks! :)
     
    firecadet613 likes this.
  8. bahamabreisus

    bahamabreisus Well-Known Member

    Oct 25, 2007
    Hampstead NC
    500 dancer, previous 420,390,300 dancers
    detriot 8v92
    Great plan, my only issue would be giving a detailed plan to insurance company. I think they could use this against you. If you miss one item, can they say you didn't follow plan. Just a thought. We say we will double tie and remove canvas, only 2 items on the list.
     
  9. Stee6043

    Stee6043 Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jun 1, 2015
    West Michigan
    1997 Sundancer 400
    7.4L Gassers
    Fascinating reading. I was double tied all around my boat for a big blow a few weeks ago while staying in a rather exposed marina. I can't imagine what it would be like getting tossed around in "real winds".

    I assume it's standard practice that they cut the power to the marinas before the storms hit? Is this generally a problem for express style boats?? If I removed the canvas on my boat that thing would be a bath tub. I guess I don't know how long my bilge pumps would actually run on the batteries?
     
  10. FootballFan

    FootballFan Well-Known Member

    Jun 20, 2012
    Florida
    Marquis 59
    MTU Series 60
    Couple of comments.

    We kept our previous boat on the east coast between Miami and Lauderdale. Did not store the dinghy on the boat, kept it in a rack storage nearby. Was always an extra set of steps, picking it up when we got to town and taking it back before we left.

    Now I just leave it on the swim platform, but take some extra precautions during hurricane season.

    I also share a plan with the Insurance company. I only include the level of detail that they need to see. I have an expanded plan that we work with that has more details.
     
  11. FootballFan

    FootballFan Well-Known Member

    Jun 20, 2012
    Florida
    Marquis 59
    MTU Series 60
    Alex, I know your question was aimed at Tom, but I will step in with an opinion. My opinion is the forces involved are different than the pounding of a massive wave. When the winds become sustained at a constant force of 60, 70 + for several hours they seem to just slowly work any weak spot. What may hold for an hour, after 3 hours starts to fail, then everything unravels.

    If I was further south and on the east coast I would not be as comfortable leaving the dinghy on the swim platform even with additional steps.

    From what I have read, the impact of the winds is not linear.
     
  12. ttmott

    ttmott PhD in OCD TECHNICAL Contributor GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 3, 2012
    Space Coast Florida
    2006 52 Sedan Bridge
    Cummins QSM11
    The tape is similar - it is used for cleanroom packaging where precision clean components can't have any residue. I think shrink wrap tape is pretty much the same - no residue after removed but don't wait too long as the sun will bake it on and make it a serious pain to remove.
    The tape prevents that driving rain from penetrating into the hatches and covers. What horizontal rain traveling at triple digits can get into....
    The thing about hurricane wind is it isn't consistent; it is a buffeting wind that simply tears things up. My boats have been through about a half a dozen major windstorms so I've got a system that works for me.
    The electronic covers all come off and get stowed below. The helm and helm chairs get tarped and I really tie it down with strapping tape.
    The docks at our marina are fixed and I've seen water over the decking; they shut down the power before they evac. to make sure there isn't electrical issues with the power pedestals under water.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2022
  13. Alex F

    Alex F Well-Known Member

    Nov 14, 2006
    Miami / Ft Lauderdale
    2005 420DB with AB 11 DLX Tender, Raymarine Electronics (2x12" MFDs) with Vesper AIS
    Cummins 450Cs, 9KW Onan Generator, 40HP Yamaha for tender.
    Hey Mark,
    I appreciate the opinion. I don't recall if I told you the story how I stayed on the boat the first time we had hurricane sweeping through NJ (I had Inspiration there for 2 seasons). Fixed docks, dinghy on my platform. Sustained winds 65+ for hours with gusts to whatever it was. If my memory serves me right, I had a previous dinghy 8'6 with soft bottom. It didn't move. Then we had Sandy. My current AB tender was on the lift. Didn't move an inch. I don't know.....and I don't want to know....but obviously still learning how the physics work when we're talking about 100+ miles wind.

    Why am I asking, is b/c I've seen my nearly 1K LBs tender jump around like a toy. This was the time I just got it and we got caught in super nasty seas....anchor in the water in every wave. So, I know the force of those seas. Fast forward few years later, my system was tuned up to handle it and I did come across those seas several times. What I'm trying to understand is what kind of wind does it take to be equivalent to those seas that lift the tender on the lift like a feather.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2022
  14. Carpediem44DB

    Carpediem44DB Well-Known Member

    Aug 18, 2015
    Sanfransico Bay area
    2000 Carver 506
    2006 44 DB Sedan Bridge
    Volvo TAMD 74 P
    You fellas on the South Eastern coast are all in! living in Ca we deal with veritable hurricanes of crazy which some how seems easier than dealing with actual hurricanes that threaten our homes and boats. The only thing that comes close is the threat of super fire storms that come with little or no warning. We are about to be hit with a ten day stretch of over 100 degree temp days with the hump bringing 111 on Sunday so I guess in the end the misery gets spread evenly. Hope you guys all are spared from a catastrophic hurricane season this year.
     
  15. FootballFan

    FootballFan Well-Known Member

    Jun 20, 2012
    Florida
    Marquis 59
    MTU Series 60
    Alex,

    The short answer to your question is that I really don't know. Hard for me to compare what the stresses are from nasty seas versus a 60, 80, 100, 120+ knot wind that blows for hours. Its an interesting question. I would guess it is comparing repeated hard bounces/shocks to a steady fairly constant pressure from wind.

    Way beyond my engineering capability. Maybe some of the engineers here can comment.

    What drives my planning is what I think we will experience at our location. Maybe I am way off base, but I feel like the southern east coast of Florida has a higher chance of a Cat 2 or higher direct hit than we do. After all the only rule about hurricanes are they don't follow any rules so I may be seriously flawed.

    In our current location I leave our tender on the platform, with some enhancements in securing. If I felt we were in the path of a bigger storm, I would probably take a different pathway. When we kept our previous boat in Adventura, I didn't have any good options (since we are remote). So I opted for the rack storage for the tender.
     
  16. FootballFan

    FootballFan Well-Known Member

    Jun 20, 2012
    Florida
    Marquis 59
    MTU Series 60
    This latest disturbance (Invest 98L, I think I got the label correct) is of concern and bears watching.

    Has a strong likely hood of moving into the Gulf and the potential of being a big storm according to some models.

    We had previously done our beginning of season prep, but have not done the "storm is approaching" prep. I had a call this morning with our boat caretaker to discuss. As we move into next week we will potentially start storm prep (lines off pilings and to the boat, etc.).

    This storm bears watching for those along the Gulf coast.
     
  17. copb8tx

    copb8tx Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jan 26, 2008
    Highland Village, TX/Port Richey, FL
    SOLD 2005 420 DA w/T-8.1S Horizons
    2018 Sea Hunt 255se w/Yamaha 300hp
    Thanks for the heads up. We'll keep an eye on it.

    Storm surge is a concern for where I store my boat. The park is deep in the mangroves but the water is within 20' of the back of the boat and maybe 5' below it at high tide. People have said that during big surges boats have floated of trailers.
     
  18. jmauld

    jmauld Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jun 9, 2020
    Carolina Beach
    2010 Sundancer 390
    2016 Sea Hunt Ultra 211
    Twin 8.1l of gas guzzling iron
    If the boat is too big for a trailer
    Buy a good insurance policy, charge the batteries, double the dock lines, pray

    If the boat is on a trailer, drive some ground stakes into the ground and secure the boat to the stakes. Keep the plug in so it fills with water and doesn’t float.
     
  19. copb8tx

    copb8tx Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jan 26, 2008
    Highland Village, TX/Port Richey, FL
    SOLD 2005 420 DA w/T-8.1S Horizons
    2018 Sea Hunt 255se w/Yamaha 300hp
    Question regarding trailered boats. Boat is under a cover with a cover on it. If it's storm surge that's the issue. Are you saying you want water to enter the hull?
     
  20. jmauld

    jmauld Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jun 9, 2020
    Carolina Beach
    2010 Sundancer 390
    2016 Sea Hunt Ultra 211
    Twin 8.1l of gas guzzling iron
    I don’t think there’s much you can do for a storm surge other than get out of the way. For flooding, some people argue that you should let the boat fill with water so the weight makes it stay where it is. Obviously, you need to drain and dry it immediately afterwards.
     
    copb8tx likes this.

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