For anyone who forgot or was simply not living on the eastern coast of the US a few years back, the 2017 hurricane season was a rude reminder of just how dangerous Mother Nature is, and just how little control we have over her.
It’s not every hurricane season that we face Category 4 and 5 storms in quick succession, but last year saw hurricanes ravage the Caribbean, as well as Texas and Florida coastlines–the worst-hit areas still on the slow road to recovery. What does this mean for some of the country’s best and most beloved boating spots?
According to one article from TCPalm, of Florida’s 905,298 registered recreational vessels in 2016, somewhere in the range of 2,000-3,000 were damaged, destroyed or sunken. Efforts to recover boats stranded by the storm have resulted in the Federal Emergency Management Agency spending close to $12.5 million on their efforts.
With the destructive 2017 hurricane season behind us, it is a good time to prepare for the next season, now with the recent lessons learned about the importance of hurricane preparedness.
What can I do to protect myself before the next hurricane season?
- Get Insured: Before hurricane season, look into exactly what is covered by your boat insurance policy to understand what recovery looks like for you and your vessel if the worst happens.
- Make a Plan: If a hurricane is tracking directly for where your boat is stored and you don’t already have a plan to get out of Dodge, it’s already too late. Begin planning now and decide whether you will tow your vessel for safe storage or risk it on the water.
- Write a Checklist: Making a list and checking it twice is great advice before a storm strikes. List all items on the vessel that must be either stripped from the boat or battened down and secured before the high winds, dangerous waves and heavy rain begin. This will keep you from entering panic mode and wasting time when you need it most.
- Check with Your Marina: If your vessel is docked at a marina or private dock, call the manager of the dock to inquire the precautions they take to keep ships safe and what they recommend for keeping your boat protected during a big storm.
As with most things, the best way to enter hurricane season is prepared and with safety in mind. The worst thing to do before a hurricane hits is panic. Instead, take the time to get your ducks in a row so that you can simply and efficiently protect your vessel. In the meantime, have fun, boat safely and we’ll see you on the water!