Water MattersCalm or choppy. Water brings us all together.
It is important to make sure that your boat stays safe in hurricanes and tropical storms. Not only is your boat an investment, but it is also your base for fun. You want to make sure that it stays safe during a storm.
BEFORE THE HURRICANE
- Check your marine insurance carefully to see if you are required to take some action in order to make the claim valid.
- Check with your marina and find out their policy for handling hurricanes. In some States marinas can order all boats to leave.
- If you are going to move your boat, determine where ahead of time.
- Learn the storm surge history and elevation of your area.
- Learn safe routes inland and make plans of where you will evacuate to.
- Inventory the property on your boat…with video equipment if possible. Plan what will be removed from the boat and what must stay.
- Keep all legal documents such as registration, insurance policy, marina rental agreement, radio license etc. in one easily moved, secure container. Make an inventory of documents, photos, and other irreplaceable articles that need to be taken in case of an evacuation.
Hurricane Preparedness for Boaters
- If you are able to move your boat that is best (especially along the coast), move it so that tidal rise or surge do not damage the vessel.
- If you are not able to remove your boat from the water, make sure you have it secured properly. Rig crossing spring lines fore and aft. Double all lines. Make sure you have fenders to protect the boat from rubbing against the pier, pilings and other boats.
- If your boat is on a lift and you cannot remove it then you need to lift it out of the water so that the waves do not swamp the boat, lash it down to the four corner pilings and remove the drain plug.
- Always remove the drain plug if you have it on a trailer so as not to sink the boat on the trailer.
- Remove all objects that may be loose and can become projectiles in heavy winds
Everyone is familiar with ethanol fuel, but do you really know what it is and the effects it has on a motor? In a nut shell, it’s moonshine. Ethanol is highly refined (grain) alcohol, approximately 200 proof, that can be produced from natural products like corn or sugar cane. Although ethanol fuel is widely used because it is less costly up front, there are three main problems with using it in your boat: phase separation, deterioration of fuel system components, and the overall cost of keeping your boat operational.
Phase separation is the separation of water and ethanol from fuel within a tank. When water is present in a tank, it bonds to the ethanol molecules in the fuel. Once the three-part mixture of water, ethanol and fuel reaches a certain point, the ethanol and water will drop to the bottom of the tank and separate from the fuel. Once this occurs, you are in danger of severely damaging your motor. Depending where your fuel inlet is located, your motor might receive the fuel portion of what is in the tank or the ethanol/water mixture. Both will cause problems with your motor. While the water/ethanol mixture will obviously cause damages, the fuel portion will be about three octane less than what it should be and therefore result in damages to your motor. Both these scenarios start with the presence of water in your fuel tank. With the humidity we have, the rains that we get, and the inherent nature of boats being on the water, let’s face it, water will get in your tank over time.
In all fairness, most boat and motor manufacturers claim to have made adjustments to their manufacturing process that allow their watercrafts to accept up to 10% ethanol blended fuel. Still, the jury is out as to the long-term effects of what this fuel will do, to even the newer motors. Play it safe, protect your investment, run non-ethanol (also known as 90 Rec) fuel, and enjoy the summer waters without worrying if your motor will get you back to dry land. For more information about the advantages of non-ethanol fuel, contact your local marina mechanic or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have not heard, famous rapper DJ Khaled recently got lost while driving his personal watercraft in Key Biscayne.
While this incident turned out alright and DJ Khaled was safe, this could have been a dangerous situation for the musician that could have had a tragic ending. Here, are some personal watercraft safety tips to make sure you don’t end up like DJ Khaled.
First, always let someone know where you plan on boating and how long you are gone. That way, if you are gone too long, that person can alert the authorities and initiate a search while it is more likely you can be saved. While DJ Khaled had his cell phone on him, they will not stay on forever and the battery might die.
Second, if you are going out to sea or even in a coastal area, bring a separate GPS unit, this will help you find your way back if you get lost. Make sure to turn on the breadcrumb feature so that you may retrace your steps and end up where you started.
Third, always keep safety equipment on you. While you may think that you won’t need this, you do not want to be thinking that you should have after the fact. It is a good idea to have at minimum: a whistle, flare and fire extinguisher. The whistle and the flare will alert other boaters that you are in trouble and the fire extinguisher, which is required by law, will put out any fires.
Lastly, do not go on a PWC at night. As DJ Khaled pointed out, it is illegal and it is also very unsafe. While Sea-Doos have many safety features such as the intelligent brake and reverse, they do not have running lights like boats do. Other boaters cannot see you when it is dark out and it is likely you will get run over.
Please remember to remain safe while on the water and most importantly, enjoy yourself!