Boat owners advised to review hurricane season preparatory plans

Boat owners are being advised by the Office of Disaster Management to review their hurricane preparatory plans so they can be ready to take action in the event of a storm/hurricane threat to the island during the 2013 hurricane season.

The 2013 hurricane season has already seen two systems form. With the start of the peak months from mid-August and September up to mid-October approximately five weeks away, preparation is essential in order not to be caught off guard.

The Office of Disaster Management hereby advises mariners to ask themselves, "How have you prepared yourself for the hurricane season?"

Hurricanes have been the cause of many maritime disasters. Constant monitoring of hurricane potential and continual risk analysis when used with some fundamental guidelines become the basic tools to minimize a hurricanes’ impact to vessels at sea or in port.

Systems that are forecast to make landfall within 50-100 nautical miles of a particular port tend to be more destructive than those that approach the port from over land or parallel the coast in the vicinity of the port. Also, ports located in the right front quadrant, based on direction of movement of hurricanes during landfall tend to have higher winds, seas, and storm surge.

The decision to leave port for hurricane avoidance must be made very clearly. Consideration to the latest safe departure time and likely avoidance routes must be balanced with a number of other factors. Most important of these is time versus distance.

The risk of damage to a vessel at sea increases as the motion of the hurricane increases towards the maximum safe speed of the vessel attempting to leave port in advance of that system.

Considerations to remain in port during hurricane passage must include an evaluation of the amount of protection afforded by the port. The direction from which the strongest winds are forecast to blow along with the potential for storm surge must be factored in when deciding whether to seek haven pier side or at anchorage.