The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1st through the end of November, but August marks the start of greater hurricane activity. This was made evident today, with Tropical Storm Danny officially developing into Hurricane Danny – the first hurricane of the 2015 Atlantic season. If you’re a boater, now is the time to start taking precautions.
As any boating accident lawyer can explain, preparing for a hurricane is a key aspect in preventing serious injuries. Hurricanes can bring in high swells, heavy winds, and storm surges, which can pose a direct hazard to vessels and to people. But while many boaters are aware of the precautions they should take while out in open waters, it’s also important to take proper safety measures that will protect your vessel while it is docked or in storage. Here are a few tips.
If you’re keeping your boat in a slip during a storm, you’ll need to ensure your lines are extremely secure and that the right equipment is in place to prevent chafing. Boats kept on land suffer the least damage, but not everyone can afford to dry dock their vessel. If you live in an area prone to hurricanes, your best bet is to find a marina with hurricane storage measures already in place. Sailboats are most likely to suffer damage during high winds, so placing your boat in hurricane-proof storage can protect your investment.
In addition to saving you from the costs of fixing a hurricane-damaged vessel, proper boat storage can also protect other people and their vessels. High winds can turn unrestrained boats and debris into dangerous projectiles during a storm.
It’s always important for boat owners to have a plan of action in place ahead of time in case a hurricane does strike. Determine how you will secure or move your boat if a hurricane threatens. If keeping your vessel at a marina, you may have certain responsibilities regarding safe storage that you’ll want to ensure you understand as well. It’s a good idea to write down your hurricane plan and to share it with a friend or family member. This way, if you’re out of town or can’t implement the plan, someone else can.
You may also want to speak to other boat owners who store their vessels near yours. Ensure that their plans are sound and that they intend to properly secure their boats. If you do plan to move your vessel, be sure to have all necessary equipment ready and in working order—before a hurricane threatens. The last thing you want to do is have to wait in a long line to buy key equipment when you could be using this time to prepare for the hurricane.
Finally, it’s a good idea to insure your boat against hurricane damage. Check with your current policy to ensure that you are protected in the event of a storm. Ask whether your policy includes salvage coverage and whether the coverage will pay you in the event your boat is damaged or in the event your boat results in other property damage.
No one wants to think about hurricanes. Aside from their potential to cause serious or even fatal injuries, they can also be a big hassle for boat owners if vessel damage occurs. Prevention is vital to saving money, time, and headaches. However, in the event that you do suffer property damage after a storm or get hurt due to someone’s negligence in taking hurricane safety measures, speak to a boating accident attorney to determine what your options are as far as filing a claim.