Watching for Earl
September 1, 2010
Boaters, meteorologists and state officials from Maine to Connecticut are keeping a close eye on Hurricane Earl, a Category 4 storm (as of August 31) that could hit the Northeast coast by this weekend. Earl is packing wind of 135 mph and heavy rains that could cause flooding and damage boats, homes and harbors. It has already knocked out power to thousands on the Turks & Caicos, Antigua, St. Maarten and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Although much can change day to day, the latest National Weather Service storm-track models suggest that Earl could hit Connecticut late Friday or early Saturday. In any case, New England boaters are being urged to either haul their vessels or make plans to secure them with additional anchors and/or lines. Special attention should also be given to chafing gear and bilge pump, systems in the case of torrential downpours.
The following storm precautions were issued by the towns of Barnstable and Wareham, Massachusetts, but apply to all coastal waters.
- Hurricane season usually lasts from mid-August through October. Besides high winds, you can expect higher than normal tidal conditions, rough seas in protected areas, and a tidal surge of 10’ or greater.
- Plan ahead and be prepared. Make storm plans with your boatyard, yacht club or mooring contractor enabling them to do one or more of the following in the event of a storm: haul your vessel, add lines, increase mooring scope, place storm anchors, move your vessel to a more protected area, etc. Where practical add to the mooring scope by lengthening the pennant line. Be sure to maintain clearance with boats around you. Position all extra fenders to fend off blows.
GET YOUR BOAT OUT OF THE WATER IF AT ALL POSSIBLE:
- REMEMBER, BOAT RAMPS WILL BE EXTREMELY BUSY AT THE TIME CLOSE TO THE STORM. Therefore, if you have reached the end of your useful boating season, consider an early haul out.
- VESSELS WILL NOT BE PERMITTED TO USE TOWN DOCKING FACILITIES DURING A STORM.
If you can’t haul your vessel:
- Pump excess water from bilges and drain water tank.
- All thru hull fittings equipped with valves, such as heads, holding tank valves, and exhaust over flows should be placed in Closed position.
- Make sure batteries are charged; pump switches and intakes aren’t jammed and working freely.
- Secure windows, hatches, seacocks, and fuel lines to engines and cooking appliances. Make your boat as watertight as possible.
- You should remove from your boat:
- All Sails, Dodgers, Biminis and Enclosures.
- Antennas and Electronics.
- Portable fuel tanks (gas, Propane)
- All non-permanent equipment (deck chairs, rafts, boxes)
- Ship’s papers and valuables
ONCE YOUR BOAT IS SECURED, LEAVE. NEVER STAY WITH YOUR BOAT DURING THE STORM.
WCVB News Video – Mariners Pull Boats From Water Ahead Of Earl
Storm Loop Video NOAA:
CBS News Online Video: