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Old 06-02-2013, 19:20   #1
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Hurricane Season

We are looking at purchasing a cat in Florida this Sept and setting out in Nov. Probably a well discussed topic but what is the story with having boats in Florida during the Hurricane season? Where do you keep them and what precautions do you need to take? What options are there short of running far North or South? I realize that the ins policy may dictate many folks actions bout would appreciate some local insight here.
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Old 06-02-2013, 19:40   #2
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Re: Hurricane season

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Originally Posted by Frozen Chosen View Post
We are looking at purchasing a cat in Florida this Sept and setting out in Nov. Probably a well discussed topic but what is the story with having boats in Florida during the Hurricane season? Where do you keep them and what precautions do you need to take? What options are there short of running far North or South? I realize that the ins policy may dictate many folks actions bout would appreciate some local insight here.
The insurance company normally requires a hurricane plan as a requirement of the policy. If the boat is in a marina there may be requirements there as well. In fact some marinas require boats be removed from the marina if a hurricane is headed that way.

Probably the first thing to figure out is if you are going to leave the boat in the water or put it on the hard. Indiantown Marina is a well known hurricane hole in Florida. There site has some information on how they deal with boats if a hurricane is headed that way. There are also other marinas on the canal to the lake similar to Indiantown. Same for the canal on the West coast to the lake. There are also some rivers with locks on the West coast that are good hurricane holes.

If you are leaving the boat in the water figure out if you are going to run or sit tight. Standard advice for sitting tight is remove all the sails and electronics and store them in a secure location on land. Also put important papers like title and insurance in a safe place. Then double up lines and use the best and biggest anchors you have. Nylon is a favorite for some, but others like poly because it floats and can be easier to untangle if necessary. A few folks like to stay on the boat while others leave it for higher ground.

This is a rough start. More specific information would require details about the boat and where it is located.
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Old 06-02-2013, 19:44   #3
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Re: Hurricane season

Thousands upon thousands of boats stay in Florida during Hurricane season each year. What they do is mostly hope there isn't a direct hit. Keeping the boat far up a river is a good option, there's several storage places (Glades; Indiantown) tucked pretty far up the Okeechobee waterway. Everybody who has their boat in a more exposed area seems to have his "Secret Spot" to which he says he'll go if a hurricane threatens, somewhere buried mysteriously deep in the mangroves. The Gulf coast seems to get hammered less often than the Atlantic, but there are places just about everywhere that you'd be fine in all but the worst blows. During those, no place is good enough.
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Old 06-02-2013, 19:45   #4
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Re: Hurricane season

You can haul out or tie it halfway into the canal.If you find a big slip you can tie it mid slip. You can do what you want, doesn't stop others from doing nothing! I had a charter boat break free during Wilma and it totalled my 40' Mull and I was tied up properly....Good Luck.

BTW- I would haulout if given the same circumstance, although people book months before hand.
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Old 06-02-2013, 19:55   #5
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Re: Hurricane season

We live right in the middle of Hurrycane alley here in Louisiana!! We have had our boat at our back dock thru the last 3 Hurrycanes, with proper proper preperation, IE, removel of sails, ect, and we also set out Katrina at the marina in Houma LA. Our Insurence Co has given us no problems, of course we have had no losses!! but at least the boat was insured if we had some losses! If your where ya need to be and take care of bizz, you will be fine in a well positioned marina in Fla. just my 2 cents
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Old 06-02-2013, 22:09   #6
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Thanks for your advice. Is the principle threat the storm swell or the high winds. Is a cat better on the hard or in the water?
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Old 06-02-2013, 22:32   #7
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Re: Hurricane season

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Originally Posted by Frozen Chosen View Post
Thanks for your advice. Is the principle threat the storm swell or the high winds. Is a cat better on the hard or in the water?
Frozen Chosen ... that is a good question. We were forced to stay in the BVI's during last hurricane season and were involved in assisting the Moorings to prepare and store yachts as we had a number of friends who are skippers there.

My insurance company ruled that part of the region out and I requested coverage subject to a 'hurricane plan' which I submitted. They were kind enough to extend coverage to us at no additional cost and preferred the boat to remain in the water and to pay special attention to chafe guards on dock lines.

Speaking with skippers who watched boats both survive and not survive hurricanes in this region came pretty much down to the clearance of the dock above water level (surge plays a MAJOR role in hurricanes and seas can wash yachts right over the docks), the ropes used to tie boats down with and adequate measures against chafe, windage being reduced to a minimum e.g. sails removed entirely and booms lashed down to the deck etc. etc.

According to our insurance broker, more yachts are damaged on the hard due to flying debris from yachts that are not that well secured, so one has to be proactive with neighboring yacht owners and check to see that they too have done a good job at it.

We stayed on our boat during some vicious storms as hurricanes slid past us and I even took photographs from our stern of ships colliding with each other due to dragging anchors whilst we remained safe on board Impi in the same conditions.

Another important thing there was the pressure of air in fenders. Many sailors had fenders explode as they were over inflated so it is important to keep 'spring' in the fenders (we keep ours under inflated except for one or two sacrificial ones and use more of them).

Your insurance company is bound to provide a lot of advice on this ... as I said, we learnt from sailors who have been doing this year in and year out ... a great opportunity for us to be involved in preparing so many of their boats
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Old 07-02-2013, 08:22   #8
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Excellent info. I couldn't believe the entire Caribbean empties for five months. Our plan the next year is to get south of Grenada but we will be in Florida waiting for 01nov the first year. I have read about anchors dragging? Do folks really leave their boats on the hook and is that wise. Would have thought a floating dock or perhaps buried in mangroves would be better? You mentioned your ins co, would you share the name and whether you have been happy with them?
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Old 07-02-2013, 08:41   #9
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Re: Hurricane season

Florida has not had a hurricane make landfall since 2005.
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Old 07-02-2013, 09:38   #10
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Re: Hurricane season

Which Florida are you referring to? Mauritz
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Old 07-02-2013, 10:31   #11
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Re: Hurricane season

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Originally Posted by Frozen Chosen View Post
Our plan the next year is to get south of Grenada I have read about anchors dragging? ?
Grenada is fine, but 2011 when I was there it was strange that so many people pretended the hurricane season didnt exist. The morning radio net said "We don't mention the "H" word". Well, they bloody well did by the time I finished with them!

One day in the first month of the hurricane season we had a squall come through about 35 to 38 knots for 20 minutes.... 6 boats in the bay I was in (prickley) dragged!!!!!!!!!! So what the hell sort of stupide precautions are those dumb duffers taking?

No matter if its the "H" season, no matter where you are, make sure your ground tackle can survive a 50 knot squall anytime



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Old 07-02-2013, 10:46   #12
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Re: Hurricane Season

We've kept our ketch and previous boats in the water for five Florida hurricanes over a toatl of more than thirty seasons with only three hits and two of those were barely category ones. The opportunity to avoid storm damage requires the opportunity to act early. Once the early winds are up to thirty or if an evacuation is declared, there will be no opening of bridges to allow a boat's passage to safe inland locations. We seek the following three days before a potential strike. Inland; good holding, shallow depth, little fetch, forgiving shoreline, little debris, few other boats, nearby wind shadow (buildings, trees, natural elevation). Given three days these places are available. There are many risk management choices and, though we remain aboard at anchor, I would not do so if I was unable to find a location as listed above. Local knowledge is a big factor with this strategy. Putting the boat on the hard and staying ashore may be the best choice.
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Old 07-02-2013, 11:11   #13
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Re: Hurricane Season

I had my cat hauled at Crackerboys during a hurricane scare in West Palm. if you are in a back canal and it's a cat 1 hurricane, chances are good all will be fine. (but who knows really?) Bigger canes would be good to haul.....
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Old 07-02-2013, 11:49   #14
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Re: Hurricane season

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Florida has not had a hurricane make landfall since 2005.
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Which Florida are you referring to? Mauritz
Is that whistling and strange comment a suggestion that he's wrong? He's right, Florida has not had a hurricane make landfall since 2005.

Not that it's stopped insurance premiums from going up or anything reasonable like that.
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Old 07-02-2013, 12:06   #15
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Re: Hurricane season

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Is that whistling and strange comment a suggestion that he's wrong? He's right, Florida has not had a hurricane make landfall since 2005.

Not that it's stopped insurance premiums from going up or anything reasonable like that.
Don't take this as a defense of insurance companies, but your post kinda distorts the facts.

Saying no hurricanes hit Florida ignores the fact that four tropical storms that were associated with named hurricanes but simply weakened before they made land fall in Florida. There was significant damage which insurance companies had to pay for. There were also deaths from tornadoes spawned by the tropical storms.

Pointing out a technicality that a weather system weakened below a certain wind speed does not change the fact that these systems did a lot of damage.
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