Although Hurricane Dorian has been downgraded to a category 2 as it comes ashore the Florida and Carolinas coastlines, it is still considered to be highly dangerous. With storm surges expected to reach several feet and expanding winds with sustained speeds of around 105 mph in the early hours of Wednesday, there is much for boaters to be worried about both off and on land. The devastation seen in the Bahamas Islands shows that even fixed structures on land have been demolished. Images from marinas confirm reports that boats were tossed around like toys.
For those with boats in the water, chances are the damage has been catastrophic in that region. With additional images of shipping containers strewn across the landscape, it is unlikely that any vessel in the water or close to the coastline will have escaped some form of water, wind, collision, or allusion damage.
As drawbridges are expected to be closed in Florida marinas when wind speeds rise above 34 knots, you may not be able to get to your boat at this time, and nor should you attempt to do so. Human life is worth more than even the most prized vessel. The South Florida Marinas drawbridges at Broward and Miami-Dade counties have been confirmed closed, while Port Miami and Everglades are closed to all boat traffic.
Low dock pilings and narrow slips are likely to cause damage to the bottom and hull sides. If there is time, arrange to get your boat to a safer location or dry dock. Cross-tying can work but be careful of the domino effect that often occurs in canals facing east-west direction. This is whereby boats at the end of the canal on the windward side are battered and come loose, crashing into other boats.
With trailer boats, it is best to offload them from trailers onto the ground, with the bow facing east. It is a good idea to consult with the manufacturer, but generally speaking, filling up the hull with water will do a good job of keeping it in place. Do note that doing so will only anchor it, not protect it from flying debris. Windage damage can be limited by removing as much tophamper as possible. Avoid storing these inside the boat, as they may hamper salvage efforts if needed.
Cover up engine room vents to prevent wind-driven water from getting through. Do the same with the exhaust pipe as the wind can also approach from astern. Sailboat owners should equally close and cover up the seawater intake seacocks. Remove or secure all loose furniture and electronics, and tape down drawers. If you have a generator onboard, protect it with plastic sheeting
Where evacuation orders have been given, we do advise that you obey. Do not stick around attempting to safeguard your property when your life is at stake. Also under no circumstances attempt to ride out the storm in your boat. Even if you think you are safely docked, storm surges can lift boats out of the water and even sink them.
For safe relocation of your boat when faced with such dangers, a professional transport service is the best choice. At Seven Seas Yacht Transport we can ably handle your vessel and get it to wherever you need it to be quickly and safely. Get in touch for a free quote on our Yacht Transport Services.