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Hurricane Prep - What do you do?

Apr 2, 2021
153
Hunter 38 Ft. Pierce
We rode out Danny and last night Elsa at the dock(Hilton Head Island, Skull Creek). Danny was a piece of cake, Elsa had me wishing I'd booked a hotel room. :eek:

I'm in a slip, bow in, starboard tie, floating dock, with a piling on my port stern. Normally 8' tidal range. To prep I did the following:
  • Added extra lines, normally I have port and starboard bow and stern lines and fore/aft springs on the starboard side. I added fore and aft springs on the port side with the aft spring going to the (non-floating) piling
  • Doubled up on all those lines, where possible (only lines not doubled at the fore/aft springs on the port side)
  • 1st line fairly tight, 2nd line looser so that they can act as a progressive spring, and also so that 2nd line doesn't work as hard (and therefore fail at the same time) as the 1st line
  • Since I've got 8' tidal range, my port stern lines can only be tight at low tide, other times they are loose. Peak wind predicted to be at low tide with 2' surge so I made sure the lines were tight at low tide
  • Every fender I have on the starboard side
  • Took the stopper knot off my jib sheets, used a boat hook and clambered on bow pulpit to get many wraps around the jib as high as possible, then tied the sheets to the pulpit (two round turns, two half hitches), under bow roller, into anchor locker, cleated on anchoring cleat
  • Disconnected outhaul from main, pulled the car to the end of the boom and secured there
  • Wrapped the remaining part of the main around the mast (IMF, ugh) and lashed it down with an old jib sheet
  • Left the dingy on the davits, empty, drain plug out, stern down a little, and lashed it down and pulled tight to the boat with ratcheting tie downs
  • I left my bimini/dodger up because they are so sun rotted and have shrunk so that they'll never go back if removed, but otherwise I would have removed them where possible
Other considerations were to deflate the dink, and strap down between the two grab rails on the coachroof with ratcheting tie downs. But I thought that might actually be less secure than having on the davits.

Other thoughts? What else did I miss?

What can be done about the lines to the piling, due to tidal range they are very loose any time other than low tide. I've seen floating "piling rings", are they any good?
 
Jan 24, 2017
549
Hunter 34 Toms River Nj
if a direct hit is likely, haul boat and remove sails, if staying in water, remove sails, try to tie to multiple pylons, chafing guards.

1 when riding out storm in water:
2 Double up lines with chafing guards, shock absorbers.
3 tie to multiple locations on boat and dock.
4 Remove as much canvas as possible
5 Add emergency additional bilge pump and battery, note battery try to locate as high as possible
6 place a car inter tube over pylons along with two or three old car tires so that they will rise with storm surge
7 tie two 20 “ rolled carpets against the hull on both sides then tie car tires all along the hull on both sides and stern.
8 remove as much fuel as possible.
9 drain all water tanks
10 close all thru hulls
11 if possible attach a cable with about 20 feet of slack to a strong anchor point on land or bulkhead as a tether if the boat should break free
12 remove all documents and make sure insurance is up to date.
13 take lots of photos of all equipment and overall condition of boat along with all pro active storm preparation.


On the hard preparation:
Same as above
1 drive as many big tent stakes as deep as possible into the ground and use ratchet straps and lines to secure boat.
2 drive anchor into the ground fore and aft.
3 if possible attach halyards to tent stakes

note did all of this preparation for hurricane Sandy that hit NJ. Didn’t help!
Still had significant damage due to storm surge
 
Jun 14, 2010
1,710
TBD Looking for my next boat CT
What can be done about the lines to the piling, due to tidal range they are very loose any time other than low tide. I've seen floating "piling rings", are they any good?
Yes, it's very beneficial if the lines can slide along a piling with the tide. Rings or tracks. But if you're at a floating dock it's better to just tie to the dock and let it ride its own slides. (Make sure the dock cleats are heavy-duty, cleats and bolts sized appropriately, and through-bolted to the structural dock beams, not just bolted to the boards. If not, then tying to pilings is advised, IMHO.)
 
Oct 19, 2017
6,877
O'Day 19 Littleton, NH
What can be done about the lines to the piling, due to tidal range they are very loose any time other than low tide. I've seen floating "piling rings", are they any good?
Assuming the tidal range dictates taller pilings, a line tied low and a line tied high could allow for the high line to go tight at low tide while the low line only goes tight when the tide is high and the surge comes up. The high line will be loose while the low line has the slack pulled out.

-Will
 
Jan 19, 2010
938
Catalina 34 Casco Bay
Up here we seldom see a hurricane. Usually a TD by the time it gets here. I ride a mooring that has limited fetch. In a harbor that could experience a storm surge but not huge waves. So heavy rain and wind aloft are what I take precautions for. The Genoa gets stuffed into the V-berth. Depending on the forecasted wind, I'll either double wrap the main or remove it. IF the hit is close and Force 8, then the dodger and Bimini are removed and the boom goes below. If Force 6-7, I have a fishing net that is laid over the Bimini and dodger and tied down. A decent line is run thru the net. Tie downs are made fast from the line.
 
Apr 2, 2021
153
Hunter 38 Ft. Pierce
5 Add emergency additional bilge pump and battery, note battery try to locate as high as possible
6 place a car inter tube over pylons along with two or three old car tires so that they will rise with storm surge
7 tie two 20 “ rolled carpets against the hull on both sides then tie car tires all along the hull on both sides and stern.
8 remove as much fuel as possible.
9 drain all water tanks
10 close all thru hulls
11 if possible attach a cable with about 20 feet of slack to a strong anchor point on land or bulkhead as a tether if the boat should break free
12 remove all documents and make sure insurance is up to date.
13 take lots of photos of all equipment and overall condition of boat along with all pro active storm preparation.
All great ideas. Please explain why removing the fuel and water is important?

Yes, it's very beneficial if the lines can slide along a piling with the tide. Rings or tracks. But if you're at a floating dock it's better to just tie to the dock and let it ride its own slides. (Make sure the dock cleats are heavy-duty, cleats and bolts sized appropriately, and through-bolted to the structural dock beams, not just bolted to the boards. If not, then tying to pilings is advised, IMHO.)
I tied up bow and starboard side to the floating dock, but wanted to use the piling to hold the boat away from the dock as much as possible. In the end I tied it up with about 3' between boat and dock.
 
Oct 19, 2017
6,877
O'Day 19 Littleton, NH
Generally you are better off anchoring out than in a slip
Usually, I recommend, as the ultimate hurricane prep, taking that six week sail to that place you've always wanted to sail to that isn't anywhere near the hurricane's projected path and leaving a week before.

Batten down the house, take the boat away.

But I realize, that isn't always doable. Next, have someone else sail her away. My father us to take his head boats out into the Gulf of Mexico and ride the hurricane out in open water. The farther you are away from things that can crash into you or things you can crash into, the better.

-Will
 
Jun 14, 2010
1,710
TBD Looking for my next boat CT
My father us to take his head boats out into the Gulf of Mexico and ride the hurricane out in open water. The farther you are away from things that can crash into you or things you can crash into, the better.
With all due respect to your father, that advice might be good for large ships but not for most small boats, IMHO. For a high profile example, it didn't work out well for The HMS Bounty Coast Guard Faults Bounty Captain In 2012 Sinking (VIDEO)
 
Jan 24, 2017
549
Hunter 34 Toms River Nj
draining both water and fuel tanks prevent liquids from slushing around violently and possible ruptured tanks. Less weight on the hard therefore less stress on the jack stands. If the boat falls over or sinks, the yard can’t make me liable for fuel spills or cleanup fees or fines. E.P.A. And state fined a lot of us boaters after hurricane Sandy damage.
 
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Likes: Will Gilmore
Sep 25, 2008
6,265
Alden 50 Sarasota, Florida
draining both water and fuel tanks prevent liquids from slushing around violently and possible ruptured tanks. Less weight on the hard therefore less stress on the jack stands. If the boat falls over or sinks, the yard can’t make me liable for fuel spills or cleanup fees or fines. E.P.A. And state fined a lot of us boaters after hurricane Sandy damage.
While any state might try fining someone for an oil spill, there are generally exemptions to liability for “acts of God” and, just to clarify, neither the yard nor the EPA has the authority to impose fines in the marine coastal environment - that authority rests with the USCG. EPA’s jurisdiction is limited to inland waters.

As a practical matter, it would probably be preferable to fill water tanks to preclude any free surface flooding.
 
Oct 19, 2017
6,877
O'Day 19 Littleton, NH
With all due respect to your father, that advice might be good for large ships but not for most small boats, IMHO. For a high profile example, it didn't work out well for The HMS Bounty Coast Guard Faults Bounty Captain In 2012 Sinking (VIDEO)
The article makes a good case for serious negligence and reckless endangerment on the part of the captain. I certainly don't advocate seeking out a storm, most especially a hurricane.

-Will
 
Jun 14, 2010
1,710
TBD Looking for my next boat CT
As a practical matter, it would probably be preferable to fill water tanks to preclude any free surface flooding.
It would also help to have more weight, thereby increasing stability against toppling. If the boat is on the hard, a lighter object is more likely to be toppled by wind than a heavy one, assuming equal form stability (stance vs. windage). In the water or on the hard, a heavier multihull will have more resistance to being lifted and flipped by under-hull winds than a lighter one.
 
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Likes: JamesG161
Jun 14, 2010
1,710
TBD Looking for my next boat CT
@Don S/V ILLusion I had to look up the term; "free surface flooding".
For others of us who aren't familiar with the term, it loosely translates to "sloshing", and of course it can influence equilibrium when we consider that water weighs 834 pounds per 100 gallons.