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Old 03-03-2012, 08:25   #1
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Hurricane Season: What's The Fuss

I feel like a dummy asking this question but here goes any way: I always here about cruising boats delaying their trips South to avoid hurricane season. Many boats won't head below the Chesapeake until after November due to restrictions on their insurance.

Surely, though, their are people who own boat South of the Chesapeake and in the Caribbean, who keep their boats in the water all through Hurricane season. Their is a substantial liveaboard population in Miami and the USVI.

What do these folks do? Do they just get crushed by their insurance providers? Do people South of the Chesapeake play roulette with named storms, hauling out only at the last minute? What is it like to be one of the million boat owners living South of the Chesapeake or in the Caribbean during the thick of hurricane season?
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Old 03-03-2012, 08:54   #2
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Re: Hurricane Season: What's The Fuss

On the Pacific side I know guys who stay in the South Pacific's cyclone belt during the bad season. They either risk it with the "a cyclone hasn't hit here in x years so I should be safe and I'm watching the weather" or they get a mooring that's designed for a cyclone. Stuff in shallow rivers, stuff in nearly fjord like environments where there's less than a mile fetch, secured off to mega moorings they've personally inspected and/or secured to trees and the such.

I went through a hurricane Hugo in port in the Navy and it was really impressive. Even beyond what you do for your boat, there is a lot of **** flying around in the air and water. Other boats breaking free and coming through the bay like a bowling ball, logs in the water, lots of surge, etc.
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Old 03-03-2012, 09:10   #3
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Red face Re: Hurricane Season: What's The Fuss

I went through hurricane David in 79 hauled out and left in the slings of the travel lift - I got there just in time. What a party! It only blew 85knts at its peak but it was wild! I felt safe as a bug in a rug tied in the travel lift - I highly recommend it if you can arrange it! That was at Summerfields in Ft. Lauderdale - fond memories of that boat yard!
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Old 03-03-2012, 09:13   #4
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Re: Hurricane Season: What's The Fuss

Sheeesh so sorry to the Mods, my grammar stinks. I meant "what's the fuss?"

I can imagine slamming around in the slings of a travel lift. Not my desired location in a blow.
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Old 03-03-2012, 09:17   #5
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Re: Hurricane Season: What's The Fuss

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Originally Posted by unbusted67 View Post
Sheeesh so sorry to the Mods, my grammar stinks. I meant "what's the fuss?"

I can imagine slamming around in the slings of a travel lift. Not my desired location in a blow.
I've gotten two private messages in as many weeks to use better capitalization in my thread titles.
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Old 03-03-2012, 09:21   #6
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Re: Hurricane Season: What's The Fuss

No slam to it - it was great! Set the keel on the ground, keep the slings tight, tie the mast to the machine, relax and enjoy the blow! Where you gonna go?
I've been through a few of these and take my word for it - if you have to be there - haul out and stay in the slings - no way are you going to get blown over!
The lift protects you from other boats crashing into you. 90% of the damage done was due to other boats being torn loose from their docks. I'd do it again in a heart beat!
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Old 03-03-2012, 09:22   #7
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Re: Hurricane Season: What's The Fuss

As you said, a lot of people have insurance policies that demand they stay north until after a certain point or else they aren't covered. Many Floridians are finding it harder and harder, and of course more expensive, to find insurance at all. A whole bunch of people have no insurance or just liability and therefore are not prohibited from being there. Being north of Hatteras is no guarantee you won't get hit either. We usually have two or three close brushes every year in southern New England and I have been through two direct hits (Bob and Gloria) where the eye either passed right over my boat or just to the west, putting me in the dangerous semi-circle. In Bob the land station near me was reporting 100 mph until the anemometer blew away.
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Old 03-03-2012, 09:23   #8
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Re: Hurricane Season: What's The Fuss

Different insurance company's have different latitudes that you must be above or below. (the box) We always find one that wants us above 23 degrees. You are insured but with a high deductible so plenty of incentive to tie up in the mangroves when a storm threatens. When we were crossing the pacific we assumed they would want us out of there before November but no so called box for the Pacific.
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Old 03-03-2012, 09:29   #9
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Re: Hurricane Season: What's The Fuss

My insurance company will just about double the premium, and raise the deductable from 2% to 10% if south of Georgia during the season. Even if north of Georgia, but south of the Chesapeake, the deductable goes to 10% if in a named or numbered storm. During the cruising years, we left the boat in Trinidad. What I don't understand is that most of the damage in the last several years has been in the middle and north east coast, but the premium remains the same, and the same restrictions apply. I guess the Actuaries know more than we do.

We have to make a decision, as Florida and the Bahamas are great in the late spring and summer, we may just have to pay to play.
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Old 03-03-2012, 09:41   #10
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Re: Hurricane Season: What's The Fuss

It seems that each boat owner makes their own plans. Some people have plans to move up a river. Some people arrange ahead of time to haul out. Some people try to anchor out. Some people just throw a couple of extra lines on their boat and check their insurance policy. Some people stay aboard to try and save their boat. They often die. Just because you are in a hurricane prone area doesn't mean that a huricane will hit in any particular year. In my sixty plus years living in Miami, I've only been through one cat 5 storm. If you are cruising and are watching the weather, there is a good chance you can move out of it's path. They are getting much better at predicting the path of hurricanes even as far out as five days. My own boat lives up a canal and is well protected. It survived Hurricane Andrew (Cat 5) and several smaller ones with out a scratch.
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Old 03-03-2012, 09:49   #11
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Re: Hurricane Season: What's The Fuss

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Some people stay aboard to try and save their boat. They often die.
That should be "occasionally die." Yes, you have to assess your individual situation, but you can be safer on the boat than ashore. Most people who die in hurricanes in the USA do so from the traffic accidents, running the generators after the storm with inadequate ventilation, misusing the chainsaw during the clean up, getting electrocuted by the downed wire, etc. Very few die during the actual storm. That's one reason they are very reluctant to call the evacuation, because they know it is a death sentence for a certain number of people who will be killed in traffic accidents due to the increased numbers of cars on the road, but those don't get classified as hurricane deaths.
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Old 03-03-2012, 09:56   #12
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Re: Hurricane Season: What's The Fuss

Here in BC they rarely call what occurs a hurricane but they do refer to hurricane force winds. I've been on board for a few in last few years and boat's gone through a few without me. The incidents tend to be short lived, over in less then 24 hours, and We have lots of protection around so the waves don't get too big.

This winter while I was tied to a dock having engine work done a pretty good wind came through and flattened my bimini. Winds were predicted to hit 80 knots in gusts for that one. I don't know if they did. I was out the next morning with needle and thread and the she survived the next nights blow. Last week we had a blow that must have been 10 or 11 on the beaufort. Honeysuckle was back on her moorings and had no problems. I was on my float home in Victoria and it was pretty noisy. When I got back to Honeysuckle there were three boats that had sunk in the blow. They were are close in to shore and I wondered if that was a factor.

Even though it gets pretty windy the fact that it doesn't lat too long seems to be a big factor. Three years ago we had hurricane winds and they lasted longer then usual and there were a lot of boats on the rocks and sunk. I was on board for that one, tied to a dock but nose on to the wind. In the morning I tied up a couple of neighbors boats that had broken lines but things were OK for most of us.

In the Caribbean it seems the conditions are different, not as much to break the flow of the wind, long fetches and palm trees are shallow routed. You may have to deal with the full energy of the storm.
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Old 03-03-2012, 10:22   #13
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Re: Hurricane Season: What's The Fuss

There are a lot of boats and debris on the bottom in the lagoon in St Martin who thought that same thing.. "what's the fuss"! There are places to haul out just before it hits in Florida... other prople just leave the boat to survive on it's own. We've all seen the pics of those piles of boats that dont survive.
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Old 03-03-2012, 10:32   #14
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Re: Hurricane Season: What's The Fuss

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There are a lot of boats and debris on the bottom in the lagoon in St Martin who thought that same thing.. "what's the fuss"! There are places to haul out just before it hits in Florida... other prople just leave the boat to survive on it's own. We've all seen the pics of those piles of boats that dont survive.
You have to assess your own situation. As HopCar pointed out he keeps his boat in a very protected location that has proven its worth in several severe storms. On the other hand, leaving your boat most places in the Bahamas is not a good idea during the season. St. Martin is smack dab in the middle of the typical hurricane strike zone. In Florida you have available excellent forecasting with plenty of warning, and a reasonable number of places you could move your boat to where it will probably be safe. But, I personally wouldn't leave my boat at a dock unattended through hurricane season unless I was there to take care of it before the storm. Get it hauled out someplace if you wish to leave it there, or maybe try to get a berth up the Okeechobee Waterway at Indiantown.
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Old 03-03-2012, 10:56   #15
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Re: Hurricane Season: What's The Fuss

We live in "Hurrycane Alley" Louisiana. We had Insurance on all of our past boats and may have on our next one, Now that only means the deductable is differnt for named storms,used to be 1000, now 5000, for named "HURRYCANES" unless you lose your boat altogether your not gonna get much cus 10,000 deductable sorta is a Bunch of damage! We are lucky cus we have serveral great storm holes right near the house and a great marina In Houma which is super for big storms!! we rode out Katrina, and every storm since real close to home and and no loss !! On our next boat we should be able to own out right, and we are Thinking about liabilty INS only. just our 2 cents Bob and Connie
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