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Old 24-05-2017, 09:38   #1
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Hurricane Preparation in South Florida

So hurricane season starts soon, and those of us living in affected areas need to be ready for it. I think I have a fairly decent idea of what to do, and went through 3 hurricanes with my previous boat, a Hunter 30. Now I have a bigger boat, in a different location, so want to be sure I am ready.

Obvious things are already planned. Doubling/tripling the dock lines, chafe protection, removing sails, dodger, dinghy and anything else to reduce windage, etc. Ensure batteries are fully charged, bilge pumps are working, disconnect shore power. Seal hatches, portlights and vents with duct tape.

My boat is docked on the south fork of the New River in Fort Lauderdale, quite far upriver from the ocean, so generally a good location from a storm protection perspective. My boat is on the river itself, rather than one of the side canals. That means I will have to wait until the bridges get locked down before I can complete my prep. I plan to put two anchors on almost the opposite side of the river - an oversize Rocna, and a Fortress FX-55. The rodes will be left slack and lying on the bottom to allow traffic to go by, and then pulled up once the bridges lock down and there's no more boat traffic on the river. The plan is to keep the boat as far away from the dock as is reasonably possible. The extra length of dock lines will also help to accommodate any storm surge. Obviously I will need to be quick to recover the anchors after the storm passes, due to the high traffic location right on the river. Anyone know what the river bottom is like in that area?

What is the best way to store the dinghy? I have a 10ft RIB, and clearly keeping it on the davits is *NOT* a good idea. Lashed upside down on the foredeck? Or lug it home in the back of my truck and store in my garage? I will need the dinghy to deploy and recover the anchors, so taking it home may not be the best idea.

Any other advice would be much appreciated. I am putting my whole plan in writing, and want to be comprehensive. Obviously no plan will be perfect, and no amount of preparation can account for a storm of sufficient strength. I just want to do everything reasonably possible to protect my boat and others around me.

Regards,
David.
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Old 24-05-2017, 10:01   #2
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Re: Hurricane Preparation in South Florida

I would think you are fine in that location. You are not getting any water action really which is the big thing, so keep the windage down by removing dodger, bimini, sails , close seacocks except cockpit drains!etc.
If you location is real secure, surrounded by trees, building etc, I might even leave it on the davits with a lot of tie downs. But of course you can haul it home if you have a truck, or deflate it, put it on the fore deck heavily strapped down.
The reality is 'canes seldom actually strike So Fl on that side, and more seldom strike when they are big. It's a bit of a roll of the dice if they do... but the odd's just keep diminishing for location, direct hit, strength etc. If a cat 5 hit's you directly, roll the dice as a roof off a local building may end up on your boat, or another boat may end up thrashing your boat. Sometimes you just gotta go with the flow...
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Old 24-05-2017, 10:49   #3
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Re: Hurricane Preparation in South Florida

Lived in SFLA for 27 years before moving to St Pete.

Hurricane season prep is easy. #1 make sure insurance is paid. #2 if they call a hurricane warning for your area (aka "in the cone of death"), strip canvas and double lines. #3 realize there ain't a flipp'n thing you can do beyond that.
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Old 24-05-2017, 13:40   #4
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Re: Hurricane Preparation in South Florida

I think your plan is good David. Hate to loose those anchors, be sure to get quickly after storm.

I think take the dink home. Safe in garage.

You on a floating dock?

Air show was great by the way, perfect conditions. Sorry you couldn't make it!
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Old 24-05-2017, 14:37   #5
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Re: Hurricane Preparation in South Florida

Put old tires in covers (we use T shirts, here), and lash to your dock so they can't blow up in the air but will cushion your boat if it happens to lie against the dock. You can also run lines under your hulls to keep your regular fenders down. Go to an ATM to get a cash supply.
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Old 24-05-2017, 19:04   #6
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Re: Hurricane Preparation in South Florida

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Originally Posted by hobopacket View Post
I think your plan is good David. Hate to loose those anchors, be sure to get quickly after storm.

I think take the dink home. Safe in garage.

You on a floating dock?

Air show was great by the way, perfect conditions. Sorry you couldn't make it!
I think I may attach a small float to each anchor - that way if the lines get cut I can still recover them. The big Rocna has a chain-only rode, but I will secure it to the boat with a nylon snubber to reduce shock loading. The dock is fixed, wooden dock extending from a concrete seawall. I have cleats on the seawall, on the dock, the pilings, plus a pair of pilings on the water side of the boat. They aren't far enough away to springs the boat away from the dock, hence the anchor plan.

I have to think carefully about the dink - weigh the usefulness of having it there for deploying and recovering the anchors and other lines. I may also go visit the "neighbors" on the other side of the river, see how they feel about securing long lines to their side instead of using the anchors...

Yeah, sorry to miss the airshow, but my wife's been going through a lot. To top that off, her mother had to have emergency brain surgery 10 days ago, and things are not looking too good right now. But life goes on...

-David
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Old 24-05-2017, 19:10   #7
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Re: Hurricane Preparation in South Florida

contrail has just touched on the issue I wanted to bring up. Normally, people have two or three fenders for each side of their boat. Last hurricane season in FL., this was shown to not be enough.

Contrail's suggestion of covered tires is great, tires are really tough....... But if fenders is what you have, then buy some more. They can be inflatable, so storage isn't so bad, but you want to spread the loads. Your long lines across the river will stretch more than you expect, and so the boat needs to be well protected on the dock side.

If you can think of a way to protect the dock edges, and make them soft and smooth, it could help. It really depends on its construction how you could address that.

Good on you for being beforehanded about this.
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Old 24-05-2017, 19:12   #8
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Re: Hurricane Preparation in South Florida

Having just left there I have to say that wind will probably not be your biggest concern. You are surrounded by very tall buildings and lots of old urban trees. If anything, storm surge or just plain rainfall may cause the river to flood above the walkway, in which case your boat would be banging against the concrete. I bet that you would be fine up till a cat 4 or even cat 5.

Are you past the railway bridge? If so, then you can bet that both large and small traffic will stop but if you are in front of the bridge, you may still get some biggish traffic and maybe some small traffic as well. Why don't you check with the city... you may be able to tie lines completely across the canal. Of course they will say no. Alternative is going to the boat across the canal from you, maybe.

Edit: If you go to Page 38 of the "Storm Surge Zone Atlas" for Broward country in the link below, you will see that a cat 1 is enough to cause flooding of the new river with a Cat 2 flooding the surrounding area.

http://www.floridadisaster.org/publicmapping/
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Old 24-05-2017, 21:02   #9
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Re: Hurricane Preparation in South Florida

David,

You will be very unpopular with the emergency service boats if you block the river with your anchor lines.

In Coral Gables waterway during hurricane Andrew the police boat was unable to get to an emergency because of lines across a canal. Blocking the New River would be very antisocial. Locking the bridges down does not stop power boats!
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Old 25-05-2017, 05:22   #10
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Re: Hurricane Preparation in South Florida

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Originally Posted by s/v Moondancer View Post
David,

You will be very unpopular with the emergency service boats if you block the river with your anchor lines.

In Coral Gables waterway during hurricane Andrew the police boat was unable to get to an emergency because of lines across a canal. Blocking the New River would be very antisocial. Locking the bridges down does not stop power boats!
You have a valid point, one that I have considered. To that end I have reached out to the Fort Lauderdale Marine Patrol unit to get their advice before finalizing my plan. Clearly, if I do put out anchors or lines that might obstruct the river, they would only deployed at the last possible moment, and recovered promptly as soon as the conditions are safe to do so. How much river traffic is there likely to be during the height of a storm? Emergency services are not going to be on the water, I imagine.

Regards,
David.
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Old 25-05-2017, 05:44   #11
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Re: Hurricane Preparation in South Florida

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Originally Posted by zboss View Post
Having just left there I have to say that wind will probably not be your biggest concern. You are surrounded by very tall buildings and lots of old urban trees. If anything, storm surge or just plain rainfall may cause the river to flood above the walkway, in which case your boat would be banging against the concrete. I bet that you would be fine up till a cat 4 or even cat 5.

Are you past the railway bridge? If so, then you can bet that both large and small traffic will stop but if you are in front of the bridge, you may still get some biggish traffic and maybe some small traffic as well. Why don't you check with the city... you may be able to tie lines completely across the canal. Of course they will say no. Alternative is going to the boat across the canal from you, maybe.

Edit: If you go to Page 38 of the "Storm Surge Zone Atlas" for Broward country in the link below, you will see that a cat 1 is enough to cause flooding of the new river with a Cat 2 flooding the surrounding area.

Florida DEM Disaster Preparedness Maps
I'm well past the FEC railway bridge, just upstream from the Davie Blvd bridge on the south fork. Not a lot of big buildings, as it's a residential neighborhood, but lots of trees. I'm on the river itself, not one of the side canals, so obstructing traffic is a bigger concern. How much traffic there will be during a storm is debatable - I cannot imagine anyone would want to be on the water during that time. Emergency services can get pretty much anywhere by road.

I agree that surge is likely my biggest concern (that, and flying roof tiles), hence the desire to move the boat away from the dock so that the longer lines can better accommodate a rise in the river level. According to the link you sent, I should have to deal with a maximum of around 8ft during a Cat 5 storm. Frankly anything over a Cat 3 is a total crap-shoot outside of my control, only thing I can do then is make sure my insurance is paid up.

As mentioned in one of my other posts, I have reached out to the Marine Patrol unit to get their input. Waiting to hear back from them.

Regards,
David
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Old 25-05-2017, 05:58   #12
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Re: Hurricane Preparation in South Florida

We just moved our 40' boat to SW Florida from the US West Coast. I know a lot about storm prep at anchor (we've been thru 3-named storms), and at a floating dock (many 60-knot wind events during 20-years in Puget Sound). But, I know nothing about securing the boat to fixed pilings and docks.

We are in a marina with short fixed docks and pilings. There is only one 12' long dock on one side of the boat and no dock on the other side. The boat is situated between six pilings (three on each side), none which have cleats or any other device to restrain or attach mooring lines.

The bow of the boat extends 6' past the outside most piling so there is no way to secure the bow with a line extending forward. I assume I will need to put out two anchors in V to provide a line pulling from ahead of the boat.

I've spent a lot of time working out the dock line arrangement but am stumped on one issue:

How to keep the dock lines from coming off the top of the pilings in the storm surge?

Yesterday at high tide with a strong SSW wind blowing the harbor water level was within 3" of over topping the dock. At that time the top of each piling was only 4-feet (I did measure it) above water level.

And... of much more concern to me - the boat's on deck cleats were less than 2' from the top of the pilings.

If, during a named storm, there were any storm surge coupled with a SW to W wind the boat's deck cleats would be above the top of the pilings.

1) Should I be concerned about the lines from the boat to the pilings coming off the top of the pilings in a storm surge and wave action?

2) How can I attach the dock lines to the pilings to prevent from coming off the top of the pilings?

3) Should I move the boat to a dock where the outer most pilings are forward (outside) of the bow?
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Old 25-05-2017, 08:03   #13
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Re: Hurricane Preparation in South Florida

Ah, the old days when I kept the boat on the north fork just past the swing bridge..........
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Old 25-05-2017, 08:33   #14
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Re: Hurricane Preparation in South Florida

TacomaSailor You would need to move your boat, that is not a good place in a storm. Spring lines will control movement fore and aft and a simple hitch will keep the lines on the pilings but the slip is too narrow, and the pilings too short. You need enough room between the pilings to put out enough line to account for low and high water without contacting the pilings. Talk to your dock master, most marinas are required by their insurance to have a storm plan. They might tell you, that theirs is for you to leave. Just my 2 cents.
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Old 25-05-2017, 11:00   #15
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Re: Hurricane Preparation in South Florida

I would not take the RIB home. Two easy solutions; one - anchor it separately, the low windage should not generate much stress. Secondly and my preferred method, leave loose on the davits but partially submerge it by loading with water. Of course, stow the outboard, oars and other loose items on your cruiser. After the storm you can dump much of the water by slowly raising the davits.
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