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frame to minimize any movement. He also removes one battery from the system and separately connects it to the bilge pump, isolating the system to some extent—remembering his previous boat getting struck by lightning. Mick then went home and began to prepare his house on Sanibel. After Charley struck on Friday afternoon, August 13, Mick was anxious to get back to see how his boat—and his business—survived the storm. He was able to get to it soon afterwards and was pleased to see no damage. Well, there was one thing. The channel suffered a low storm surge, laying the boat way over on its side. Engine oil, a couple of quarts of it, drained out through the dipstick tube. Mick said it was a real mess cleaning it up. We discussed different ways to shut off the dipstick tube in the future. He did remark on one item he forgot and left on deck, the boat hook. It hadn’t moved. When asked what he would like to say to others about preparing their boats, Mick responded, “You can’t prepare enough. When the season rolls around, you get your gear together. You put it in one spot where you can grab it and run with it up to the boat.” Unfortunately, Mick’s home didn’t do as well as his boat. His Sanibel house had a tornado touch down on its roof, flooding the bedroom. He and his wife had the foresight to stay inland during the storm. Probably would have been safe on the boat. For more information on Mick Gurley and New Moon, go to www.newmoonsailing.com.

Hurricane Preparations Through The Eyes Of A Dockmaster By Captain Paul Warren, Dockmaster, Isla Del Sol Yacht Club, St. Petersburg, Fl Hurricane preparations are a serious matter—regardless of your perspective. However, the perspective of a marina dockmaster is substantially different from that of a boat owner. Ultimately, however, we all have the same objective: to weather the storm with minimal damage to our respective properties. At the outset, it should be recognized by all concerned that a dockmaster’s primary responsibility is to protect his/her facility. Damage to the facility can come from a variety of sources: boats chafing away on pilings until they’re half their original diameter; boats tied loosely so they crash into the docks and power pedestals, tidal surge waves dislodging deck boards; tie poles (pilings) being broken by torquing action of boats tossed by waves. Our job is to minimize the potential for this kind of damage. We certainly have a secondary responsibility to assist our boat owners with their preparations. Every dockmaster I know has a wealth of information, experience and techniques that can assist boat owners with their hurricane preparations. I know that I spend a considerable amount of time and effort each year researching lessons learned from News & Views for Southern Sailors

Twenty-five Percent of Florida’s Boats Prepared in 2004 From BoatUS A review of last year’s hurricane boat claims by the BoatU.S. Marine Insurance Catastrophe Response Team found that only 25 percent of Florida boaters had made the proper storm preparations. “These boats largely survived because time was spent early in the season to develop a basic hurricane plan, which was then later implemented when disaster struck,” said Carroll Robertson, vice president, BoatU.S. Marine Insurance Claims Division.

previous storms, talking to other dockmasters/marina managers for their tips, and, simply thinking about the processes and how to improve our planning. However, the boat owner needs to ask us for our advice. Remember, again: Our first priority is to protect our facility. Here are some suggestions that will help both of us: ■ Maintain a “Weather Eye.” This means paying attention to more than today’s forecast. It means for tropical storms/hurricanes, updating yourself (and your dock mates) regularly on potential trouble in the tropics. You should be loosely tracking each low pressure area in the Caribbean/Gulf of Mexico. You should be tracking each tropical wave coming off the coast of Africa. You should be paying attention to the “sea surface temperatures” in the Atlantic/the Caribbean/the Gulf. If you do this regularly, you’ll develop an internal sense about the potential of a given weather system to develop into a potential threat to your marina or your boat. (Note: One of the best Web sites I’ve found for broad hurricane information is presented by Robert Lightbown of Crown Weather Services at www.crownweather.com/tropical.) ■ Be Action-Oriented. Don’t wait until a full hurricane warning is in effect before arriving at your boat. Take action NOW, while the wind is still blowing 8-15 and the waves are still 1 to 2 feet. If you wait until you’ve got storm condi-

SOUTHWINDS

September 2005

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