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Old 28-08-2015, 09:08   #1
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Erika Preparedness Boat In the Water

Looking for some guidance. Looking at the forecast track of the storm today puts the center fairly close to my boat in the water on Monday. 27 foot Ericson at the Municipal marina in Punta Gorda, Peace River just West of I 75.

Dockage is a sturdy concrete dock to port and there's a piling off a bit off the stern to starboard. Boat is nose into the slip facing West with a bow and stern line, no spring lines currently as the area is calm with no current.

There's a center cleat on the dock to port unused currently, the mentioned piling, and a cleats port and starboard off the bow on the dock.

Never have had a boat in the water with an threatening storm and looking for advice on securing, anything I should do to the boat to prepare, etc.
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Old 28-08-2015, 09:53   #2
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Re: Erika Preparedness Boat In the Water

I'd say multiple lines for each piling, and be real sure you deal with chafe. I'd say chafe may be one of your biggest concerns.
I think / hope Erika won't amount to much, but if nothing else it will get people prepared (I hope)
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Old 28-08-2015, 18:19   #3
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Re: Erika Preparedness Boat In the Water

Storm surge forecast for your area? If you stay in the marina then account for that in your dock line runs.

Getting out of the marina into a nice safe mangrove hole is a good option too.
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Old 28-08-2015, 18:54   #4
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Re: Erika Preparedness Boat In the Water

+1 on getting out of the marina, usually the worse place as hard to be far enough away from the dock. Mangroves are the number 1 choice, tying off in the center of a canal would be next. Having said all that, for this storm adjusting your lines so you cannot come in contact with the dock along with some extra fenders will be most likely all you need as it's looking like you won't get more than you would with a summer t-storm.


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Old 28-08-2015, 18:57   #5
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Re: Erika Preparedness Boat In the Water

Mate, you are already in a doom trap with that concrete dock, haul out if is coming straight to your location plan A, look for something better if you want to be in the wter plan B, best way to ride a cane in a dock is if you can be in the midle of 2 slips, far way from the docks , with a spider web of lines going each direction...no kidding..
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Old 28-08-2015, 19:42   #6
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Re: Erika Preparedness Boat In the Water

Current forecast has the storm as tropical storm force winds as it passes through the area Monday. Hoping it gets beat up crossing the mountains tonight but I have some concern if it holds together that it will intensify traveling through the straits of Florida to cat 1.

Good news is the slip is wide, more than twice the beam of the boat with a study piling tie off.

Storm is forecast to travel north up the peninsula, don't think storm surge will be an issue on the river and the marina is pretty sheltered.

Plan to reduce windage and spiderweb the boat in the center of the slip.
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Old 28-08-2015, 20:01   #7
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Re: Erika Preparedness Boat In the Water

Have any of you guys ever tied off in a mangrove creek in Fl? I drive through them all the time and seriously see no way to get to anything mangrove trunks substantial enough without using chainsaws, boards, a track how or crane. Everything Everywhere I've seen anywhere near the edges is the small roots and little limbs

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Old 28-08-2015, 20:08   #8
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Re: Erika Preparedness Boat In the Water

If this was a hurricane I'd tell you to remove all your exposed canvas and sails. Even the tightest furled canvas will get loose in a hurricane. After the last big hurricane to hit Punta Gorda I saw several sail boats that had left jibs furled on the head stay. They all lost their jibs. I saw at least one boat dismasted.

Don't stay aboard during a real hurricane. A fellow I knew was killed in hurricane Andrew when he left his boats cabin to secure something. His boat survived with minor damage. His remains weren't found for many years. His boat was tied in the mangroves. I think it was just last year that a cruiser died in a hurricane in Mexico. His boat was at anchor and he was talking to other cruisers on the radio. When things started going bad, nobody could help him.
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Old 28-08-2015, 21:08   #9
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Re: Erika Preparedness Boat In the Water

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dulcesuenos View Post
Have any of you guys ever tied off in a mangrove creek in Fl? I drive through them all the time and seriously see no way to get to anything mangrove trunks substantial enough without using chainsaws, boards, a track how or crane. Everything Everywhere I've seen anywhere near the edges is the small roots and little limbs

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Yep, put her in the mangroves twice one year, up until 10 years ago it was always at least once a year. You have to walk in a few feet to find the larger roots. No chainsaws allowed or needed.


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Old 29-08-2015, 07:26   #10
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Re: Erika Preparedness Boat In the Water

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dulcesuenos View Post
Have any of you guys ever tied off in a mangrove creek in Fl? I drive through them all the time and seriously see no way to get to anything mangrove trunks substantial enough without using chainsaws, boards, a track how or crane. Everything Everywhere I've seen anywhere near the edges is the small roots and little limbs

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Mangroves are surprisingly strong and flexible. If you "spider web" the boat into a nice snug mangrove hole, with many lines attached to many mangroves, then the loads are well distributed and they will hold. A good pair of boots, plus long pants/shirt and insect repellant, are all you need for crawling around in the swamp to find good attachment points. The trunks don't need to be as big as you may be thinking (black mangroves, the most salt tolerant that grow along the fringe, don't get very big anyway, but they are strong for their size).

A big advantage of being up in the mangroves is that you are well away from the hazards of a marina...docks, pilings, and other boats. If you do break lose then you just lay up in the mangroves, which are soft and flexible.

For multihulls, which can take flight in extreme winds, partially flooding the hulls will help reduce the odds of them temporarily becoming an aircraft. Shrimpers along the Gulf Coast carry this a step further and actually sink their boats (after removing electronics and sealing the engine).
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Old 29-08-2015, 07:33   #11
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Re: Erika Preparedness Boat In the Water

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Originally Posted by Shallowminded View Post
Current forecast has the storm as tropical storm force winds as it passes through the area Monday. Hoping it gets beat up crossing the mountains tonight but I have some concern if it holds together that it will intensify traveling through the straits of Florida to cat 1.

Good news is the slip is wide, more than twice the beam of the boat with a study piling tie off.

Storm is forecast to travel north up the peninsula, don't think storm surge will be an issue on the river and the marina is pretty sheltered.

Plan to reduce windage and spiderweb the boat in the center of the slip.
Sounds reasonable. Storms do of course intensify unexpectedly, often just before land fall, so confirm that your insurance is paid up. ;-) And don't do anything foolish like stay on the boat.
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Old 29-08-2015, 08:25   #12
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Re: Erika Preparedness Boat In the Water

Storm fell apart and what is left will be mostly west of Florida.
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Old 29-08-2015, 08:40   #13
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Re: Erika Preparedness Boat In the Water

Call your insurance agent and see what is required by them to cover you in the storm. Some companies will pay a small amount to haul the boat. If you haul, use serious tie-downs (in concrete), towing straps for lines, and make sure there are no leaks into the boat. Make sure your cockpit drains are clear. Remove all canvas, loose lines, fenders, etc. If you decide to leave the boat in the water, double all your lines, use chafing gear at all contact points, add springs both sides, both directions, tie away from the dock, and again, remove anything that can blow away and take parts of your boat with it. Or move to California, we only have earthquakes, not hurricanes. )
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Old 29-08-2015, 08:55   #14
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Re: Erika Preparedness Boat In the Water

Just a few hours ago Erika was forecast to landfall in the panhandle, while now thought to go west of the peninsula, the panhandle is "Florida" too.
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Old 29-08-2015, 10:01   #15
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Re: Erika Preparedness Boat In the Water

This is sure to inflame some members, and for that I apologize, but I do think it is necessary to examine the other side of "staying aboard" during a hurricane. Having done so, and after carefully examining the experience of others who did the same thing in the same storm (eye passage of Hurricane Marty over Puerto Escondido, in Mexico's Sea of Cortez, September 2003), it is clear that one CAN, in fact, do things that help a vessel's survival. But, at what risk?

That's the question and it is highly situational. Where is the boat? What's around it? How do you plan to get ashore if the worst happens? How fit are you? How well can you swim? Who is dependent upon you? How strong is the storm? What time of day will it hit? Is it likely to intensify?

There is no all-encompassing answer, whether it is "stay on board", or "flee with your life".

At the time of Marty, my 33 foot monohull was anchored a couple of hundred yards from shore, a shore I was sure I could swim to. I am fit and a good swimmer, and I was even more so back then. The shore I proposed to swim to was indented and not subject to big waves. The storm was category 1, borderline 2. I believe the most anyone saw was maybe 91 knots. It was not likely to intensify, particularly if it hit us, directly. I was single with no dependents. Although it was not predicted to do so, it passed through entirely during the day.

By contrast, when Hurricane Omar threatened my subsequent boat in the BVI in 2008, I got off. I was very well secured in a marina, spiderwebbed in the middle of a double slip (Jet Stream is a 45 foot catamaran). But the hurricane was supposed to be strong, it was supposed to come at night, really bad things happen when boats are close to and banging docks, and I was not at all keen on the thought of getting off the boat or swimming to a dock in the potential chaos. I also had a very serious girlfriend, at the time, who lived aboard, as well. The storm missed us but caused much damage and misery in St Maarten.

For Erika, a few days ago, Jet Stream was even more securely spiderwebbed in the same dock as in 2008. But, this time, I stayed onboard. Erika was supposed to come in the afternoon and into the evening. She was supposed to either hit us directly, or miss us by just a bit. But, she was forecast to be a mid strength tropical storm with very little chance of intensifying. And I kept the decision of leaving the boat open until the morning of the day she arrived. In the event, Erika passed about a hundred miles south of us, and we didn't get that much rain. The most wind I know of was 51 knots, in a gust.

Three entirely different situations....three entirely different decision.

What are the benefits of staying onboard, should the situation not seem life-threatening? Well, contrary to much of what is written, you CAN positively affect things, such as adjust lines, protect against chafe, secure gear, run your engine, etc. etc. etc. If the eye should go over you, you will have quite a bit of time to sort things out in the calm. Many of us did this in Marty, even going to the extent of setting anchors in the opposite direction, in anticipation of the different wind direction. Some even launched dinghies for a few minutes.

In the aftermath of Marty, there was, of course, a celebratory party. We all shared our stories. No occupied boats (there were 21 such) were lost, although most sustained some degree of damage. We noted that of the 51 unattended boats, 17 were on shore, obviously sunk, or just plain missing and we complemented one another for our own thorough and obviously superior preparation......until we began to dig deeper! We found that, of our occupied boats, exactly the same percentage had suffered problems as had the unoccupied boats, problems that probably would have resulted in the loss of each of those occupied boats, had they not been dealt with. 17 out of 51 unoccupied boats (1/3) were lost, and 7 out of 21 boats with persons aboard (1/3) would likely have been lost had they not had those onboard to intervene. And, some of the interventions were very sobering and courageous, indeed.

Having said this, I knew one of the cruisers who perished in Odile, last year. He had gone through Marty, by the way. I don't think any cruisers got killed in Marty, but plenty were roughed up and lots of boats damaged or sunk in different locations throughout the Sea of Cortez. And the Caribbean and Florida have seen their share of major disasters.....Hugo, Marilyn, Lenny, Jeanne, the list goes on and on. So I am most certainly NOT urging folks to blindly stay onboard boats during Hurricanes and Tropical Storms! But I am saying that there are plenty of situations, when carefully analyzed and the boat properly prepared, where I would not question anyone who DID stay onboard. Having done so myself, I completely understand, always depending upon the situation. And for those whose lives are truly encapsulated in their boats, who really have everything on their boats, I totally understand the motivation to do everything they reasonably can to protect them.

I will leave the blindly all encompassing command that "whatever you do, get off the boat" to the magazine articles and those who have never really had to make the choice.

I hope that Erika, in Florida, poses the least threat possible and that she passes bringing only welcome rain to the South, and leaves our community unscathed.
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