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Seeking safe harbor in the storm

12:30 PM, Aug 23, 2012   |    comments
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The best advice for anyone during hurricane season is to plan ahead. Go ahead and know exactly what you're going to do before the season even starts. Make a plan and stick to it.

So, boaters, this is especially true for you, because you've got even more to plan for.

The family boat is one of the biggest investments of your time and money. Depending on how much work you've put into yours, it may actually be more emotionally valuable than any other possession.

And that makes sense considering where we live. The First Coast is a boater's paradise.

First things first: Before the season even starts, make sure your boat insurance is up to date. I know that seems like a no-brainer, and everyone should have insurance if they're a boat owner, but just double-check to make sure your coverage is adequate.

If you keep your boat at a marina, whether at a slip or in dry storage, timing will be everything. Think about how busy the harbor master is going to be trying to get boats out of the water and into storage when an evacuation order is issued.

So, take a look at the First Coast News forecast cone of concern several days out. Plan ahead of the evacuation order, and get your boat out first. Even if the storm makes a turn and avoids our coast line, you can always hit the boat ramp and drop her back in the water the next day. And that will give you a chance to show off your awesome trailer backing skills.

If a storm seems imminent, make sure you have an evacuation spot that will take your boat and trailer.

However, there are some boats that simply can't be towed.

The best move would be to get that boat out of the water and above the potential storm surge line. Talk to a local dry storage facility and work out a deal. Make sure they keep your vessel as high as possible, because once your boat gets caught in a storm surge, it will be a goner and a projectile.

Keep in mind, your first priority is getting your boat out of the water. According to BoatUS, even boats that are knocked off jacks by wind or storm surge sustain less damage than boats kept in the water.

Finally, if your boat absolutely must stay in the water, moor it in a well-protected but un-populated area. Avoid the mooring areas outside marinas. Instead, find a protected cove in the marsh. Chances are, with a large surge, the anchor line is going to snap, but at least your boat won't be damaged by other boats in crowds outside a marina. Plus, the boat may become nestled in the marsh mud, which would be the least of all the potential evils.

If you're keeping it in the water, BoatUS also suggests using a helix anchor. This type of anchor has much more holding power than a dead weight anchor, as it literally augers itself into the riverbed.

First Coast News

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