It Doesn’t Take a Hurricane to Sink a Boat

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BoatUS: Tips for Preparing for Tropical Depression Nine

Boaters need to prepare for Tropical Depression Nine’s heavy rains, says BoatUS. Photo credit: NOAA

Boat cockpit decks are seldom 100 percent watertight, and the ability for a bilge pump and battery to handle rain accumulation is greatly overestimated.

As Tropical Depression Nine begins its abrupt change in course that will steer the storm ashore late Thursday, boaters in the Big Bend region of Florida may be thinking they dodged the bullet. However, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) says TD Nine, expected to grow into tropical storm status today, will bring heavy rains across much of the state. The National Hurricane Center forecasts up to 10 inches for the Cross City, Florida, area, and up to five inches is expected to fall as far north as Savannah, Georgia – more than enough to sink a boat that is not prepared for the torrential downpour.

BoatUS Seaworthy Magazine Editor Charles Fort says, “Boat cockpit deck drains are often woefully inadequate and a deluge can fill the cockpit and sink the boat. If the cockpit is not watertight, a bilge pump and battery’s ability to handle rain accumulation won’t last long. Deck drains and pump discharges located near the waterline can also backflow when waves and rain put drains underwater.”

For boats kept in the water, Fort recommends a good fitting cover, or at least ensuring rain can easily drain off the boat, including clearing any deck scuppers or drains of leaves. Batteries should be charged and the boat made as watertight as possible. Removing windage such as sails, bimini tops and deck furniture is also a good idea as winds are forecasted to increase.

Trailerable vessels should be taken to the boat launch ramp, hauled and stored ashore away from trees. At press time, most “hurricane haul-out” boat insurance provisions that help pay for owners to haul larger vessels from marinas or home dock slips are not yet in effect and may not be until TD Nine becomes a NOAA-named storm. With BoatUS Marine Insurance, a boater is eligible for 50 percent of the cost of labor, up to $1,000, to have the boat professionally hauled.

A range of downloadable, no-cost storm preparation information is available at BoatUS.com/hurricanes.

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Tropical Depression Nine will have more than enough rain to sink boats. BoatUS has storm preparation tips http://goo.gl/jC8u8m #BoatUS

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Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) says Tropical Depression Nine, expected to grow into tropical storm status today, will bring heavy rains across much of Florida. Up to 10 inches are forecast for the Cross City, Florida, area, and up to five inches as far north as Savannah, Georgia – more than enough to sink a boat that is not prepared for the torrential downpour http://goo.gl/jC8u8m

About Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS):

Celebrating 50 years in 2016, BoatUS is the nation’s largest organization of recreational boaters with over a half million members. We are the boat owners’ voice on Capitol Hill and fight for their rights. We help ensure a roadside trailer breakdown doesn’t end a boating or fishing trip before it begins, and on the water, TowBoatUS safely brings boaters back to the launch ramp or dock when their boat won’t, day or night. The BoatUS Marine Insurance Program gives boat owners the specialized coverage and superior service they need, and we help keep boaters safe and our waters clean with assistance from the non-profit BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water. Visit BoatUS.com.

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D. Scott Croft
Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS)
703-461-2864
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