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There is Still Time

to Get Ready (1)

The Problem of Complacenty, Relocation

Hurricane Season 2000

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Arrrggh! It's that time of the year again for those of us who live in hurricane vulnerable areas. Well, heck, at least we don't live on the San Andreas fault, and though we can't closely predict hurricanes, we at least know they are coming and are given some time to prepare.

-The Problem of Complacency
- Relocation
- Where to go?
- Storm Prediction
- Overcrowding
- Making of a Good Dock
- What About Floating Docks?

And preparation is what it's all about. As I'm sure you know, we are in a period of greatly increased hurricane activity. Storm guru Dr. William Gray is once again predicting a very active season thanks to that kid out there in the Pacific referred to as La Nina.

The Problem of Complacency

I don't know about you, but the frustration factor of frequent near misses is beginning to take its toll. Last year we had three Cat-1 and several tropical storms come through our area, and that produced not only a lot of complacency, but an entire field full of wrecked boats here in Ft. Lauderdale. All with owners who did little or nothing to protect their boats, including not even bothering to tie them up properly.

And then there was Floyd, a super storm that came roaring straight at us just like Andrew did, only to turn away at the last minute, but not without causing a great deal of panic. With the fresh memories of Andrew, no one was complacent about Floyd's 150 mph winds.

The point is, even minor storms can produce a lot of damage to boats. It doesn't much matter if the wind is 75 mph or 175 mph if your boat is in an exposed location, or not properly prepared. Apparently, a lot of  boat owners were lulled into thinking, "Ah, a cat one storm. No big deal." As the field full of broken boats being sold at auction suggested, it was, indeed, a big deal.

Complacency happens because it's a lot of work getting prepared, and it's very frustrating to go to all that work, only to find out it's a false alarm, which, fortunately, it often is. That leads us to take them less seriously. But remember, unlike brief thunder storms, the high winds of even minor tropical storms can easily last 8-10 hours. Rather than just the force of wind speed, it's the long term strain on things that can cause damage. Weak dock lines break, and weak docks begin to fall apart.

Beat Complacency

The way to beat complacency is to make preparation as easy as possible. That means to have your materials and logistical solutions down cold. Knowing what to do, and when to do it, with all necessary man power and materials available. In case you haven't already learned this, heading out to the marine supply store to make panic-stricken last minute purchases is about the last thing you want to do. Facing horrendous traffic, empty shelves and long lines at the check out counter wastes your valuable time and raises your blood pressure to uncomfortable levels.

August 15th marks the beginning of the most serious period of storm threat. You still have time, so if you haven't done your planning and obtained your supplies, why not do it now? Here are some points we've assembled from a major study that we performed for insurance companies.


Your first consideration is whether you need to relocate your boat to a safer refuge. If so, you're not going to be able to do that alone,  here's where the planning comes in. Who can you get to help you? You'll need someone to drive you to your boat and drop you off, then pick you up at wherever you move the boat too. That takes time. Will the people you expect to help be available? Can you get started early enough, or will you get adequate warning? Well, not always . . . . Think about the panic that tends to set in when threatened by a Cat 3 or higher storm. Bridges closing down early are among the many problems that can be encountered.

You can relieve yourself of much of this stress if you think about permanently relocating your boat to a safer place. Oh, I know, you probably selected your dockage due to convenience to the nearest inlet, only now it's not so convenient because your boat is vulnerable. If you are in a place with a 12 month boating season, one solution might be to change your dockage twice per year, or arrange an alternate location for the hurricane season. Here in Ft. Lauderdale, that is entirely possible due to the large amount of available inland dockage. In other areas, that may not be an option. But, if it is, you may want to take advantage of it. Nearly all large yacht captains have a preplanned refuge lined up in advance.

How? Some inland facilities will offer unused dockage for just this purpose, though those are likely to be scarce. Or, there may be private residential dockage available. Check the newspaper ads. One way we do it here is to head into inland waterfront neighborhoods where we know there is unused dockage and start asking around. Offering a couple hundred bucks for use of the dock for a couple of days is likely to sound very attractive to the homeowner. >> Part 2 -Where to go?

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The Problem of Complacency
Where to go?
Storm Prediction
Making of a Good Dock
What About Floating Docks?

Posted July 10, 2000, Added 2 photos July 18, 2000

David Pascoe - Biography

David Pascoe is a second generation marine surveyor in his family who began his surveying career at age 16 as an apprentice in 1965 as the era of wooden boats was drawing to a close.

Certified by the National Association of Marine Surveyors in 1972, he has conducted over 5,000 pre purchase surveys in addition to having conducted hundreds of boating accident investigations, including fires, sinkings, hull failures and machinery failure analysis.

Over forty years of knowledge and experience are brought to bear in following books. David Pascoe is the author of:

In addition to readers in the United States, boaters and boat industry professionals worldwide from nearly 80 countries have purchased David Pascoe's books, since introduction of his first book in 2001.

In 2012, David Pascoe has retired from marine surveying business at age 65.

On November 23rd, 2018, David Pascoe has passed away at age 71.

Biography - Long version


Fight or Flight: It's Always a Tough Decision

Hurricane Season 2002

There is Still Time to Get Ready (1)
The Problem of Complacency, Relocation

Hurricane Season 2000

There is Still Time to Get Ready (2)
Where to Go?

There is Still Time to Get Ready (3)
Storm Prediction, Overcrowding

There is Still Time to Get Ready (4)
Making a Good Dock (with 3 illustrations), What About Floating Docks?

Tropical Outlook for the 2000 Season 

The potential for tropical cyclone development in the Atlantic  remains unfavorable as the unusual weather pattern we pointed out several weeks ago continues.

The Need for Improved Hurricane Forecasting

For those of us who live and work in hurricane alley, during the hurricane season our lives and activities are often overshadowed by the risk of hurricanes. 

Keith Reaches Category 4 Status
140MPH Winds as of 0600, 10/1/00

Related reading:at www.yachtsurvey.com

Finding Refuge

Safe Harbor 
How to protect your boat from hurricanes

David Pascoe's
Power Boat Books
Mid Size Power Boats Mid Size Power Boats
A Guide for Discriminating Buyers
Focuses exclusively cruiser class generally 30-55 feet
With discussions on the pros and cons of each type: Expresses, trawlers, motor yachts, multi purpose types, sportfishermen and sedan cruisers.
Buyers' Guide to Outboard Boats
Selecting and Evaluating New and Used Boats
Dedicated for offshore outboard boats
A hard and realistic look at the marine market place and delves into issues of boat quality and durability that most other marine writers are unwilling to touch.
Surveying Fiberglass Power Boats
2nd Edition
The Art of Pre-Purchase Survey The very first of its kind, this book provides the essentials that every novice needs to know, as well as a wealth of esoteric details.
Marine Investigations
Pleasure crafts investigations to court testimony The first and only book of its kind on the subject of investigating pleasure craft casualties and other issues.