Monday, August 27, 2012

Hurricane preparedness II

For all of us there are rituals in life, and for those of us living southwest Florida it's tracking and paying attention to tropical storms and hurricanes. In Ohio when you say spaghetti, they think Ragu. We think models. After waking up at 2:00am to check the latest information from NOAA's Tropical Prediction Center, it's often time to take action. The first step is to brave the crowded grocery stores, and stock up on critical essentials. It's always a melee. People fighting over bags of potatoes chips, and ripping jugs of water away from the hapless elderly, who are often armed to the teeth.

The important thing to remember is to get plenty of liquids, and nourishing nonperishable items capable of surviving the inevitable power failures that will occur. Don't forget to get plenty of ice. There is nothing worse than drinking your favorite adult beverage at south Florida's tepid room temperatures, but I personally know you can survive this.

Another big issue is awareness of where the hurricane shelters are, and what amenities are available. This is one of my favorites. You can come and go as you please without some officious official questioning you. It has an armada of generators that keep ice makers running, and beer cold, which is so critical in Florida's muggy hot climate. All the TV's are lit up with the Weather Channel so you can closely monitor conditions in a collegial and intellectual environment.

For boat owners, this is always a time of tribulation, and trial. One must make sure loose items are well secured. Items should be removed from consoles, and valuables taken away from the boat.

I am often asked about removing canvas from the vessel. The answer to this is simple. If it's new, remove it. If it's old, check your insurance deductible. If it's less than the cost of new canvas, leave it up, and have the insurance company buy new canvas for you. It helps if you can claim you were camping in the Alaska, and never knew about the storm. Cheesy dock lines may also help during a storm if you're trying to sell the boat with no success.

I make a point of checking my client's boats for proper tie up when inclement conditions may occur. In this case there were some problems with the two starboard pilings, and since the boat next door had disappeared, "Evensong" was pulled away from the dock by running a line over to the next dock's more sturdy piling.

The boat's maintenance company came by a little later to finish the tie up. I think I will have to remove the line today in case the boat next door shows back up with a myopic captain, and two insurance claims ensue. I named the nearest starboard piling Stumpy, and here is a little video showing you what the problem was.

So fortunately, Issac for us ended up being one of the "rains with a name", like Debby, Gabriel, No Name, and the many others.  The storm is now well offshore and we are just getting a mix of sunshine, and occasional rain with very little wind. Now I don't want anyone to think I am treating this subject too blithely. Behavior is driven by risk, and in this case it was low. When hurricane Charley came up the coast we, and the mutts were in as close as I could get to a underground nuclear fallout shelter.


  1. Have enjoyed your blog for a long time, but this is my first comment. It's 5:30 CDT, and as I sit in my front yard with an after work be beverage, waiting for Isaac to go away, my thoughts are on Moonpie, my Ocean Winds 33 cruising cat. She's 90 miles away, 3 hours up the Jordan River from her home port of Pass Christian, MS. She's well anchored, tied to shore, and fully storm prepped. I wouldn't be worried at all except for the folks that come into the hurricane hole with thoughts of insurance claims dancing in their heads. There's always some jack*** that shows up at the last minute, throws out one anchor and, without even backing down on it, leaves. There's the guy that's gonna drag in only moderate winds andt will take out the anchor rodes of half the boats there. I know your comments were toungue in cheek, and I did get a grin when read them. My point, though, is this - if you're someone hoping for a total loss, fine, but please, drop your 15 lb mushroom anchor on 1/4 line somewhere there aren't any other boats!
    I do enjoy the blog, Bill. Keep 'em coming!!

  2. Issac passed with just a whimper but there are other storms to prepare for. I suggest you get the tactical bug out bag from to meet your basic needs and switch to red wine (2 btls fit nicely in the bag along w/ 2 stem glasses) since you can drink it warmer than a margarita when the power does fail.


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