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Old 29-08-2012, 03:22   #1
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Impact of Storms on Boats in Marinas

Can I ask, as someone who has dreamed to moving somewhere warm like Florida, what impact/damage do boats suffer in marinas in places like Florida when storms, etc, pass through. Not specifically in relation to Isaac but just generally.
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Old 29-08-2012, 04:34   #2
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Re: Impact of storms on boats in marinas

In marinas with floating docks, boats generally do fine until the storm surge gets high enough to lift the docks off of their piles. Then all hell breaks loose.

Fixed dock marinas have similar problems. High storm surges break dock lines loose and let boats push up against fixed piles which tears up the rub rail, life lines and sometimes the underlying fiberglass structure. But you usually don't have the mass destruction that you do with floating dock overtopping.

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Old 29-08-2012, 06:34   #3
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Re: Impact of storms on boats in marinas

Thanks David

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Old 29-08-2012, 06:39   #4
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Re: Impact of storms on boats in marinas

Note that what David is talking about is a pretty serious storm surge. Here in Tampa we have had two tropical storms so far this year that have come pretty close--Isaac a few days ago and Debby back in June. Neither was bad enough to cause any damage to any properly secured boats, either in marinas or anchorages. The only boats that I have heard about that were damaged in any way at all, were definitely not "properly secured."
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Old 29-08-2012, 06:43   #5
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Re: Impact of storms on boats in marinas

A marina or dock can be the worst place for a boat during a hurricane. The best choice is to prearrange a haulout in case of a storm prediction. The boat, and other boats beside in the yard, should be anchored to the ground...not just propped up on stands. Take off anything you can that adds windage (sails, biminis) and remove electronics and anything of value that you can.If you decide to keep it at a dock, double up your lines and make them as long as you possibly can to allow for storm surge...tie them high on the piers with something to keep them from slipping off. Floating docks are even better for surge, as long as the pilings are tall enough to accommodate the max surge expected. We have a secret anchoring spot with great all around protection and tie her to trees and pilings with 8 lines, plus 2 anchors. Last TS it sat there like nothing was happening...a 45' land shelf rises just to the north...that's where the most damaging winds often come from.
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Old 29-08-2012, 06:50   #6
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Re: Impact of storms on boats in marinas

Of course it varies a lot from marina to marina. Some are not very sheltered to begin with and I wouldn't want to ride out anything serious there. Others are in what we call "hurricane holes." The construction quality of the marinas varies too. Protection from wind and waves, and high ground around the marina can make a huge difference. They are predicting storm surges of 12 feet or more right now with Isaac. Look around your marina and try to imagine what things would look like with 12 extra feet of water above normal high tide!
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Old 29-08-2012, 07:50   #7
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Re: Impact of storms on boats in marinas

Perceptions are interesting... Having lived and owned boats in New England and now in Florida, the storms we experienced in New England were FAR worse than anything here in Florida including two hurricanes. I've seen severe damage to marinas and boats in New England from typical winter storms that dwarfs anything here in Florida.

By all means, move to Florida; it's safer and the weather isn't too bad...
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Old 29-08-2012, 07:53   #8
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Re: Impact of storms on boats in marinas

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Originally Posted by S/V Illusion View Post
Perceptions are interesting... Having lived and owned boats in New England and now in Florida, the storms we experienced in New England were FAR worse than anything here in Florida including two hurricanes. I've seen severe damage to marinas and boats in New England from typical winter storms that dwarfs anything here in Florida.

By all means, move to Florida; it's safer and the weather isn't too bad...
You probably couldn't say that IF you'd been around when Andrew hit..

JUST WAIT..
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Old 29-08-2012, 07:58   #9
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Re: Impact of storms on boats in marinas

Is the "norm" now for marinas in the path of a major storm to MANDATE all vessels leave their slips?
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Old 29-08-2012, 08:13   #10
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Re: Impact of storms on boats in marinas

Regardless of where you are located you reduce your chances of suffering damage by proper preparations. I have ridden out numerous hurricanes in the U S & British Vigins with no damage so I'm not an "armchair captain". I retired to Florida and have ridden out every hurricane touching the Palm Beaches since 1999. Best advice I ever received was, "prepare for the worst regardless of what others may say or do". The only damage I ever suffered was from a lightning strike that cooked all my rigging and electronics. We are blessed to have advanced notice of severe weather so no one should be caught unawares. Come on down !
All the best,
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Old 29-08-2012, 08:14   #11
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Re: Impact of storms on boats in marinas

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Is the "norm" now for marinas in the path of a major storm to MANDATE all vessels leave their slips?
rtbates,
Depends on their insurance coverage.
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Old 29-08-2012, 08:15   #12
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Re: Impact of storms on boats in marinas

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Originally Posted by rtbates View Post
You probably couldn't say that IF you'd been around when Andrew hit..

JUST WAIT..
There are exceptions to any generality. I could argue the damage done by the hurricanes which hit New England and Long Island over the past century were worse than Andrew's impact but that too would be a generality.

The point being most people have a misperception about the real chances of a damaging hurricane in Florida just as they do about an earthquake destroying California.
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Old 29-08-2012, 08:43   #13
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Re: Impact of Storms on Boats in Marinas

My boat has weathered two class 3 hurricanes, (knock on wood), so far with only minor damage.

1. If marina is protected, and allows you to weather storm there, go ahead, but if not find a well protected area to tie up.

2. Double all docklines, use serious docklines 7/8's or better. two on every cleat.

3. Insure enough slack for each point of projected storm surge, but not enough for boat to hit things. (I ended up with a "spider web" of lines so during midpoint some lines were too loose, but others were tight, then during peak surge the loose ones were tight, and the tight ones were looser..)

4. Remove everything from boat, not nailed down, including all canvas. (during Ike the screens on openable windows were peeled off). Boats that had furled sails, or tied down biminis were shredded.

5. Fully charged batteries, and working bilge pumps.

6. A little luck, if you see neighbors boats not well secured, lend them some of your extra lines, and help them tie up, if not you will be picking their boat out of the side of yours. (most boats sunk during Ike were from impact from another boat...the rest ended up on the freeway miles away).

And remember it may seem like a hurricane hits every week, but an actual landfall at a particular point is more like 5-10 years apart.

And most of them are minor storms, no worse than what you would get in a bad thundershower that often get 60 mph winds.
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Old 31-08-2012, 08:46   #14
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Re: Impact of Storms on Boats in Marinas

We just went through Isaac here in New Orleans and it was an interesting experience. I have videos of what it was like posted in this thread:
Here Comes Isaac

And on our website:
Sundowner sails again

I second what capn_bill said above. We popped 5/8" 3 strand lines in the storm. Our boat is around 11 tons. We were in sustained 60+ mph winds for around 12 hours. Luckily the storm surge didn't top the sea wall at the marina but there were still pretty significant waves in the marina itself.

If I were to do it again (when I do it again), I'd go with bigger lines, more of them, and don't trust the pilings. We saw many of them go. So not only doubled lines but doubled lines to different points.
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Old 31-08-2012, 09:03   #15
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Re: Impact of Storms on Boats in Marinas

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I'd go with bigger lines, more of them, and don't trust the pilings.
to what did you tie the docklines, cleats??????
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