Hurricane Tips From a Liveaboard

Chris Riley by Chris Riley Updated on July 30, 2019. In nauticalknowhow

Here ‘hurricanes’ are called typhoons. What ever they are, I always am very apprehensive when they are on their way. Below is a list of precautions I have learned over 30 years of boating.

  • Tie down or remove loose objects.
  • Wrap lines around sail covers to prevent ballooning.
  • Stay, if possible, on a secure mooring so that the boat can turn into the wind. Mooring all round puts a great deal of strain on the boat, however, if there is no swinging room it can’t be helped, much of what follows still applies.
  • ALL connections to the mooring should go through a swivel. Lines without a swivel that have become twisted can break very easily under strain. I have seen it happen.
  • When securing the boat, secure each line to a separate cleat/sampson post. DO NOT secure all lines to the same point on the boat. If the mast is stepped below on the keel, use the mast as well if necessary. DON’T if stepped on deck.
  • Add chain to the mooring/boat connection, with a loop in the chain with a nylon spring attached to the boat to take the shock of snatching together with a swivel.
  • Add 2 nylon rope lines from the mooring to the boat, making a total of 3 lines to the mooring.
  • Make sure that the lines from the boat to the mooring are longer by at least 50% than is normal, more if considered appropriate, to allow for any tidal surge.
  • Check all hatches and port holes and dorade boxes for potential leaks.
  • Check the engine for easy starting in an emergency.
  • Stock up with plenty of fresh food and water and fuel.
  • Secure or remove all loose items in the tender.
  • Secure the tender BEHIND the main boat by at least 2 separate lines to the main boat.
  • STAY ON BOARD with radio, barograph, weather fax all ‘ON’ for as much weather information as possible. Weather reports by the authorities are not always as up to date as one’s own observations.
  • Keep a constant watch on lines for chafe, leaks on board, any small things that arise that could become BIG if not watched and attended to.
  • Check bilge pumps, hand and electric, making sure all are working.
  • Put out the fenders all round the sides of the boat, you never know when the other person’s UNATTENDED boat is going to cause havoc.
  • Check all unusual sounds immediately when you hear them.

All this assumes that your mooring is in a good location, protected from wave action and, as much as possible, from the wind. AVOID high hills and mountains within the immediate proximity of the mooring area, they cause mini cyclones locally that are often worse than the typhoon.

Have a friend ashore, if you wish, to check in with at intervals; that friend knowing before hand what to do in an emergency.

DO NOT rely on Insurance companies or the authorities to get you out of the jam that you are in. Be self-reliant, that is the principal behind ‘messing around in boats’ in whatever manner one chooses, and should be born in mind at all times.

I disagree with your advice on:

1. Not staying with the boat.

2. Removing radios and papers.

I prefer to put papers in a secure, waterproof container, that can be taken easily IF abandoning ship should arise. So far for me, this has never been necessary, but it is a possibility that should be taken into consideration and be prepared for BEFORE HAND.




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