As any boater in a place like Cayman can tell you, you need to have your ducks in a row when it comes to planning for rough weather. Whether that rough weather is ‘merely’ a bit of high winds accompanied by wave action, or whether it is a hurricane making a bee line for the islands, having a plan for what will happen with your boat should rough weather approach is vitally important.
With the official start of hurricane season only a month away, new boat owners might want to start thinking about how they are going to deal with the upcoming season, for even if it is predicted to be a below average season by recent standards, it is best not to tempt fate.
One of the most important elements is to be ready – you need to have a plan in place well in advance of any rough weather, as you might not have as much warning as you would like. The amount of activity as other boat owners try to get their craft ready for the storm may also mean that unless you are ready, you might find yourself battling against time.
Plan where your boat will be kept during the storm, whether tied up in the water or on land, and make sure that you have all the necessary equipment ready as you might not have the opportunity to make those preparations once you receive a storm warning.
Where possible, remove all valuable equipment from the boat, so that should the boat be a complete loss you don’t lose anything unnecessary like your fish finder and radio. Also remove any loose equipment like cushions that are likely to blow away.
If the boat will not be kept in the water during the storm, also remove the battery to reduce the risk of fire.
Also be certain that should you be off island when a storm approaches that you have someone reliable who will see to it that your storm plan is carried out.
As with any piece of expensive equipment, make sure that your insurance is up to date, and that you have all the documents relating to the boat in a safe place.
If you plan to remove your boat from the water, be certain that your trailer is in good shape – it makes no sense to have a storm plan in place only to find that your trailer has a flat tire when you want to put that plan into action.
Remember to check that your boat is attached properly to the trailer, and that the trailer will stay in place.
If your boat will remain in the water during the storm, make sure that it is thoroughly secured, keeping in mind that winds will shift during the course of the storm, so just securing it on one side may not be sufficient.
Also make sure that your storm lines are at least one size thicker than your regular lines, and because there is likely to be a lot of movement, be certain to smooth or pad any areas where chafing might take place, as a broken line can spell disaster.
Make sure that batteries are fully charged, as the automatic bilge will be working overtime during the storm, and if your batteries are not fully charged the combination of rain and waves can quickly send a boat to the bottom of the canal.