1. Caretaker. Winterlude survived a direct hit from Hurricane Charley primarily due to our excellent caretaker, Jim Worcester. We left the boat in a hurry intending to return before hurricane season that year, the only time we hadn’t removed sails and “battened down the hatches” on the other topics already mentioned in this series.
Jim was busy with readying his home, rental properties and other boats under his caretaking but he got Winterlude’s sails off and shrinkwrapped other critical items such as our kayaks and our mackpack.
When we originally arrived in the marina in 2001, I immediately started asking everyone on the docks and harbormaster’s office for reliable caretaker recommendations. Turned out Jim was redoing the teak on the boat in the next slip. He did many things for us while he was watching over Winterlude, including completely redoing the teak, but the most valuable was readying the boat for Hurricane Charley!
In addition to your caretaker, be sure to have an emergency contact list and insurance information on file in the harbormaster’s office.
2. In our marina, power is shut off on the docks 12 hours before the hurricane hits. Your caretaker will need to remove the power cord and store it below so it’s not ruined by the storm.
3. IMPORTANT!!! Marina personnel in your marina will have many duties to perform getting ready for a hurricane. While they are always willing to do whatever they can in the time allowed for boats in the marina, they are NOT responsible for preparing your boat. Help them out by preparing your boat as they wish — lines to be adjusted from the dock or the boat, whatever they want. Checking with your marina and following their instructions to the letter can help your chances of surviving a hurricane. Be SURE to work together with them and make sure your caretaker knows what they will be doing during the storm so he/she can ready your boat in accordance with their wishes.
We always spell out our expectations of what our caretaker will do in advance of a hurricane on a sheet that is left on the navigation desk – that way it can’t get lost in the craziness of preparation that proceeds a hurricane. We also arrange to pay our caretaker extra for any hours expended in readying our boat — that’s not an everyday every other week type of caretaking, it’s above and beyond and they deserve to be compensated separately. You may want to agree on an hourly rate or a flat fee for accomplishing the items on your “hurricane preparedness” list ahead of time so there are no nasty surprises after the fact.
These tips are not meant to cover everything, just to provide information on what we do getting ready for hurricane season!
Please share what you do to prepare your boat for hurricane season — please comment below! THANKS!