Boaters group offers advice for what could be more-active hurricane season

With the release of several early seasonal hurricane forecasts for this year, boaters and marina operators are finding out they could face a much different scenario than last year’s relatively mild storm season.

For instance, the nationwide weather service Accuweather recently reported it expects 2010 to be an “extreme season,” with as many as 18 named storms. That’s a 100-percent increase over 2009.

BoatU.S., a national boat owners group with experience in hurricane preparation and post-hurricane recovery efforts says that most boaters and marinas can survive by being better prepared. To help with this task, the group offers free online tools at the BoatU.S. Hurricane Resource Center at

The Web site offers easily downloadable storm-planning materials including a hurricane-preparation worksheet, an in-depth “Guide to Preparing Boats and Marinas for Hurricanes,” and checklists for what to do before and after a hurricane strikes. Sample hurricane plans for boat and yacht clubs, as well as up-to-the-minute storm-tracking tools with live satellite images, also are online in one convenient Web site.

While the safest location for a boat during a storm is on land, boaters also may want to ask their insurer now if their policy helps pay some of the costs of a storm-related haul-out. Boat owners seeking the services of a professional delivery captain to move a vessel to a safe “hurricane hole” can go to the BoatU.S. Captains Locator at

If moving the boat is not possible, BoatU.S. suggests owners contact their marina now to enroll in hurricane “clubs” and coordinate storm preparations.

Help for Boat Clubs, Yards and Marinas

The free 24-page “What Works, A Guide to Preparing Marinas, Yacht Clubs, and Boats for Hurricanes” shares success stories as well as failures of dozens of marinas and clubs that have experienced a hurricane over last two decades. The guide covers floating docks with tall pilings, strapping down boats ashore, developing hurricane clubs for customers, dealing with boats at fixed docks, moving boats to hurricane holes and how to install better moorings.

A special legal section, “Protecting Yourself from the Storm,” offers information equally important to any marina owner or yacht club leadership – how to protect themselves from vessel owners seeking compensation for hurricane-related damage.

Also included is a sample “Marina Hurricane Preparation Plan” that can be customized for any boating facility, as well as a Hurricane Preparation Worksheet that can be copied and given to individual boat owners.

To download a copy of the guide, go to To get a paper copy, call 703-823-9550 ext. 3525.

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