Boat Owners Group Says ’08 Hurricane Offers Lessons

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Four days before 2008’s Hurricane Hanna struck the South Carolina coast and ran up the eastern US seaboard, she was downgraded to a tropical storm. But that still didn’t stop the damage to hundreds of recreational boats deluged by the storm’s intense rains. And with Hurricane Earl now forecast on a parallel course just eastward of Hanna’s old track, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) is again urging boaters from the Mid-Atlantic to New England to protect their vessels from the forecasted heavy precipitation.

“Normally it’s a hurricane’s storm surge and high winds that cause the most damage to recreational boats,” said BoatUS Director of Damage Avoidance Bob Adriance. “But a hurricane doesn’t have to score a direct hit to sink boats. Heavy rains can cause significant damage, especially with boats stored on lifts, or those stored in the water that have their scuppers or drain holes clogged by leaves or other debris.”

Adriance says boaters should be prepared to remove boats from lifts and store them in a safe area and ensure drains remain clear and any drain plugs are removed. Or, if your boat is stored in a slip it’s a good idea to add extra dock lines and chafe protection. With any boat, windage such as sails or biminis should be removed.

To help boaters make preparations, BoatUS has some free online “tools” available at the BoatUS Hurricane Resource Center at www.BoatUS.com/Hurricanes.