Hurricane Preparation

Hurricane Preparation

by Conrad & Judy Kreuter

Q: Dear Boat Talk: How should I prepare my boat in case we get a hurricane? AB, Valley Stream NY.

A: Dear AB: Hurricane season in the Northeast runs from June through the end of October. However, with the way the weather has been lately, damaging storms seem to occur even outside this window of time.

The best place for your boat to ride out a hurricane is on land. If your boat is small enough or you can place it on a trailer, it is to your advantage to get it out of the water and store it as far away from the water as possible. Remember to remove the hull plug so any rainwater can drain out and not accumulate in the boat. Secure the boat to the trailer with straps or lines.

If you must leave the boat in the water, try to find a hurricane safe anchorage where you can store the boat. Plan in advance for this contingency. To secure the boat, double up on all dock lines and leave enough slack for the anticipated storm surge. Place chafing gear wherever the lines contact the boat. If the boat will stay on a mooring put chafing gear on the anchor rode so that the line will not part where it contacts the boat. If you are leaving the boat in its slip, place all available fenders around the boat.

Whether the boat is on land or in the water, remove all canvas and sails and secure all equipment and accessories that could be damaged by the wind. Batten down the hatches and secure all windows.

While you can’t always predict how a hurricane will harm your boat, it is prudent to make sure your insurance policy is in effect and contains the proper coverage in the event of storm damage. Make sure that your insurance covers the cost of fuel or oil clean up and any environmental damage caused by that spill. Recovery of a sunken vessel can be very costly especially if special equipment, such as cranes or helicopters are involved. Make sure to read your insurance policy so you can update the coverage you will need before disaster strikes.

Q: Dear Boat Talk: I just purchased an outboard powered boat with power trim and tilt on the engine and electric/hydraulic trim tabs on the boat. What is the correct way to trim my boat using both systems? TH, Medford.

A: Dear TH: The term trimming your boat refers to the settings of both the power trim and tilt and the trim tabs to achieve the best possible performance and fuel economy of the boat.

The power trim and tilt (PTT) system on the motor adjusts for the best planing attitude of the hull. To correctly use this system you would bring the PTT control to the full down (tuck in) position when bringing the boat up on plane. This angle will provide the best performance out of the hole, and will help get the boat up on plane in the fastest time possible. Once the boat is on plane, depress the up trim button of the motor until the planning attitude of the hull is at its best angle. This is the spot where the boat rides the best and the engine is the most fuel-efficient. You will need to experiment where this position is for your rig. Once you are happy with the performance, make a mental note of the amount of tilt on the motor and return to this setting the next run.

The trim tabs will cause the boat to ride on a level plane port to starboard. If you have more weight on one side, adjust that trim tab until the boat rides even in the water. This is the proper adjustment for the trim tabs for the load carried on this outing. Different loads will require a different setting of the trim tabs.

Avoid using the trim tabs to force the bow too far down into the water. This could cause the boat to “bow steer”, that is, to steer the boat from the bow instead of from the motor. Bow steer is a dangerous condition that could cause the boat to be forced in an unwanted direction by the action of the waves, often very quickly and without warning.