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HSH Yacht Articles

SEABROOK MARINA
HURRICANE PLANNING AND PREPARATION CHECKLIST

By

Jeremy R. Hood

See also the article: Preparing to sell your boat

In preparation for what some experts predict to be an active hurricane season, Seabrook Marina offers the following planning and preparation checklist. Advance planning is the best protection. Knowing what to expect from a hurricane and when to secure your vessel will help increase chances the vessel will withstand possible damage

ADVANCE HURRICANE PLANNING CHECKLIST

  • Primary Mooring Lines – Check size, condition and length.
  • Spring Lines – Check size, condition and length.
  • Check vessel cleat size to be sure primary/spring lines will fit on one cleat.
  • Chafe gear – use clear vinyl, water hose or leather (punch a hole in each end of the hose to secure it to line with smaller line to avoid sliding).
  • Rehearse storm mooring procedures.
  • Plan your evacuation route.
  • Update insurance coverage and locate vessel papers.
  • Photograph your vessel, inside and out, in case of a possible insurance claim.

Yacht Size Primary Line Size Spring Line Size
overall length diameter diameter
Up to 23 ft 3/8” 3/8”
24 ft to 32 ft 1/2” 1/2”
33 ft to 42 ft 5/8” 1/2”
43 ft to 51 ft 3/4” 3/4”
Over 51 ft 1” 1”

Use only 3-strand twisted or braided nylon (no polypropylene or manila). Chafe gear – water hose, clear vinyl tubing, sewn on leather (tape is not effective).

WEATHER

Storms cause high winds (74-165mph, 100mph average). Tornadoes often accompany hurricanes, high tides (8-6 ft, 10 ft average), tidal surges and intense rainfall. All of these weather conditions will threaten your vessel, but your vessel has an excellent chance of surviving undamaged or with minor damage if properly secured.

EVACUATION

Live aboards are strongly urged to vacate the area as soon as a hurricane or tropical storm is imminent. Seabrook does not have pre-landfall shelters; therefore, an evacuation plan and route should be a priority.

As most of you know, State Highway 146, the primary evacuation route for Seabrook citizens is more often then not at a stand still due to the normal workday congestion. Therefore, during evacuation, the highway will be gridlock. The reality is if you do not leave EARLY, you will most likely ride out the storm in your vehicle!

VESSEL OWNER’S RESPONSIBILITY

You must secure your own vessel or arrange for a qualified friend, neighbor or boat buddy, if you are out of town. Get to know your dock mates; exchange telephone numbers and agree to help each other. Rehearse your mooring plan with everyone who may be involved. Buy your extra line, chafe gear and fenders NOW so you will be prepared. A hurricane can develop very quickly.

Secure mooring line to pier piling. Never tie the line in several knots or loop line around a piling several times because it takes too long to release a line that needs adjusting. If you are unsure about proper mooring, ask the Harbormaster now. Should a real storm threat develop, it will make his job much easier if your vessel is already properly secured.

MARINA’S RESPONSIBILITY

The marina cannot and will not assume responsibility for the safety of your vessel; however, the marina staff will work with you when possible to help you protect your investment. Contact the marina office in writing if you want us to put new lines on the vessel, and we will bill your on your monthly statement. This needs to be a pre-hurricane season request to allow for adequate time.

HURRICANE PREPARATION CHECKLIST

  1. Secure storm lines, double line if possible.
  2. Remove furling jibs. These can impose a severe threat to surrounding vessels in the event of heavy winds and may be removed by other boat owners if you do not stow them yourself.
  3. Lash sale covers, or remove sails completely. Lower bimini, antennas, radar, outriggers and lash or take ashore.
  4. Remove shore power, telephone line cord and all deck gear; stow or take ashore.
  5. Dinghies must be removed from the marina.
  6. Shut off all lines to fuel, propane, alcohol tanks, etc.
  7. Fill water tanks, close valves and close all seacocks.
  8. Charge batteries and shut off everything except the automatic bilge pump switch.
  9. Secure or remove all articles inside vessel.
  10. Remove or plug all ventilation cowls and close deck plates.
  11. Secure and seal all hatches and companionway covers.
  12. Observe the vessel from the dock to be sure all lines are properly tied and will not slip off pilings. Secure hull side fenders for protection.
  13. Remove document papers from vessel. These may be needed in the event of a possible insurance claim.
  14. Do not stay aboard. Evacuate by a planned route.
  15. Do not anchor in Clear Lake or Galveston Bay.

V-DOCK, Y-DOCK AND COVERED STORAGE TENANTS

Due to the strong current and possible storm surge, those vessels moored on V and Y docks and in covered sheds will be urged to vacate. Vessels tied at V and Y docks will be subject to extremely rapid currents running through the channel. Vessels in covered sheds are subject to going through the roofs due to high tides and tidal surges. Alternate storm storage is strongly urged. To the extent of availability, the marina will try to incorporate vessels into available slips on a first-come, first-serve basis. This should not be relied upon as your alternate location as the marina has been running at 85-90% plus occupancy.

DRY STORAGE VESSELS

  1. Trailerable vessels must leave the marina. Make prior arrangements for storm storage.

  2. Check your trailer regularly and keep in moveable condition. This includes tires, bearings, axles and tongue. Check that the hitch and ball are the proper size.

  3. If you plan to vacation during hurricane season, unstep you mast beforehand to allow for a quick evacuation by a friend or neighbor in your absence.

Overall, the marina is well protected by storm levees, which surround each basin. We feel properly secured vessels will have a good chance of surviving a hurricane with minimal damage. Our pilings are extra high and have withstood the test of hurricanes in the past. Strong dock lines and chafe gear properly installed will keep a line from breaking loose. Plan ahead, change your old lines now and offer to help your neighbor. It is in your best interest that your neighbor’s vessel is also properly secured.

When returning after a storm, water will probably still cover the entrance roads forcing you to park outside and walk into the marina. Only registered marina vessel owners with current marina vehicle ID stickers and marina staff will be allowed in. Please be ready to provide your driver’s license or other identification to verify you as a marina tenant and gain entrance. Remember, these steps are taken to protect your vessel and our property from outsiders. Also remember to wear boots or boat shoes for protection and bring water, food, flash lights and a first aid kit.

We urge you to plan for this upcoming hurricane season. You should also be reminded that all official emergency information will be broadcast on the Official Emergency Broadcast Station, which is KTRH 740 AM.

THE BEST DEFENSE IS A GOOD OFFENSE! MAKE YOUR PLANS TODAY!!


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