storm icon    2021-10-07    RNYC Guidelines for Preparing Your Vessel for Storms

Preparing your boat for extreme weather is old hat to many of our members but for others, this may be their first time having to do so. Co-operation and the sharing of knowledge is key and is what our community is all about. If you need help or advice please don’t hesitate to reach out to the office or others in our fine club. Don’t be short a line, don’t be short a fender, and don’t hesitate to ask for help. We are reviewing all activities planned for this weekend.

Attached is the most recent EC storm track and a loss prevention guide from Boat US which provides a fairly comprehensive guide for preparing your boat. Additionally, there is a link below which details some best practices for tying up.

How to Tie Up Your Boat for a Hurricane or Storm | BoatUS

The following is a list of things that we know help mitigate damage and loses:

For boats in the water:

  1. Ensure all lines are doubled up. Key lines (like the ones holding your boat off the dock) should be tripled. Use Nylon line in good condition which is sized correctly for your boat. Distribute the loads and lines to reduce loads on any one cleat.
  2. Ensure what you are tied to is secure. This may mean being creative and passing lines through additional wharf structure, including whalers if required.
  3. Ensure you are able to deal with wind from all directions. Ensure your vessel is moored such that line scope allows your vessel to surge without binding and to ensure that your boat cannot float over the dock. (Do not rely on fenders to keep you off the dock).
  4. Use good chafe protection on your chocks and on the dock and anywhere a line passes. This can be a simple as old jeans secured with black tape or as intricate as Italian leather hand seized on. Either way: you need it.
  5. Hang all those ugly fenders, yes, even the dirty old ones, with a mind to position, tide, and storm surge.
  6. Secure fenders to toe rails if possible to avoid stanchion damage. Be mindful of the position and route of spring lines and their clash with lifelines, stanchions or handrails.
  7. Prior to the storm, check your lines at low tide, check your lines at high tide, and check your lines at mid-tide.
  8. Knock down dodgers and remove all canvas.
  9. If you are a sail boater.. spend the few minutes to remove your main sail from the boom and drop the jib. In addition to the main sheet secure your boom. Put extra in your backstay and/or baby to stop mast pump.
  10. Secure all halyards. Stop the clang.
  11. Make sure your bilge pumps are clear, are working in automatic mode, and batteries are charged.
  12. Clean cockpit drains and bulwark scuppers.
  13. Remove all lose items from your deck and adjacent wharfage.
  14. Look aloft. Ensure that masts, shrouds, and spreaders are staggered to avoid clash.
  15. Deck and secure tenders, including those on davits.
  16. Stow or fold down things like antennas and flagstaffs.
  17. Please stay off off the boat during the weather event.
  18. Please stay off the docks during the weather event.

For boats on the hard:

  1. If you are on stands, ensure stands are chained together and that chains are tight and pads are thawt. Ensure stands on gravel surfaces have plywood under load points. These points are equally important for power boats and sailboats as we have recently seen losses due to stand movement on hard chined-cruisers.
  2. The number and position of your stands should be to published guidance, such as the Brownell stand selector.
  3. Ensure your garboard drain is open and cockpit drains and bulwark scuppers are clear.
  4. If you are on a trailer, ensure the boat is secured to the trailer, and that the trailer is level and robustly chocked to prevent movement. Tie chocks together. Do not leave the hitch floating on a wheeled jack; block it. Engage brakes if possible.
  5. Remove canvas and loose items from the deck.
  6. Take down ladders and other temporary structures and stow them.
Thank you again for your attention and cooperation. We will provide further updates tomorrow and / or as necessary.

Kindest regards,
Anderson Noel,
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Commodore RNYC

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