STAY SEAWORTHY

Sail away or secure it well

If there’s a hurricane, the best place for the boat is as far away as possible from the storm track. Many Keys residents with small- to mid-size boats choose to trailer their boat to a safer location. If that’s your plan, be ready to go early: Monroe County’s phased evacuation calls for high-profile vehicles to leave first. After that, boats are not allowed on the highway. Captains who intend to sail to their evacuation destination must also leave early; at some point during a mandatory evacuation the Snake Creek drawbridge will be locked down so vehicular traffic flows smoothly and, of course, the weather will get nasty.

If it’s not possible to sail or tow the boat away from the storm, take the boat out of the water and stow it in a garage or on the lee side of a building. Tie the boat to the trailer and the trailer to an immovable object — such as a palm tree. Do not fill the boat with water. Boats are designed to keep water out and filling it with water could cause structural damage.

If it’s not possible to stow the boat on land, find a spot in a protected harbor. Again, the early bird will get the best spot though it’s recommended to keep checking on the vessel as the harbor fills with other boats to ensure safe clearances between vessels. Take everything off the boat — sails, electronics, etc. Heavy and extra anchors are needed for this option and enough line should be on hand to allow a scope of at least 10:1 for each anchor.

Many working Keys captains adhere to the time-honored tradition of stowing their vessels in a hurricane hole, or a narrow inlet lined with mangroves. These protected spots block the wind and provide a tie-off. The best location for a hurricane hole — preferably scouted ahead of time — is one far enough inland to avoid the most severe winds and tides, yet close enough to reach under short notice.flo

The last option mariners should consider is leaving the boat at the dock. In a strong storm, high winds and waves will batter the vessel against the dock or lift and destroy both. A better option is to tie off in the center of the canal, again using immovable objects on land and the strongest part of the boat such as a mast, not a cleat. This requires cooperation with other boat-owning neighbors to ensure each boat has sufficient room. Also, leave some slack in the lines to allow for tidal change. Use extra fenders and also use chafe protection on lines.

Never try to ride out the storm on the boat.

Hurricane Guide 2020 Contents

STAY SEAWORTHY

If there’s a hurricane, the best place for the boat is as far away as possible from the storm track. Many Keys residents with small- to mid-size boats choose to trailer their boat to a safer location. If that’s your plan, be ready to go early: Monroe County’s phased evacuation calls for high-profile vehicles to…

Special needs registry looks after most vulnerable

In order to meet the special needs of those who need assistance during evacuations and sheltering due to physical and mental disabilities, Florida statutes mandate that each local emergency management agency in the state maintain a registry of disabled persons located within the jurisdiction of the local agency. “Our special needs residents will be screened,…

TAKE CARE OF BOWSER & BABY

Babies As families in the Florida Keys prepare for the upcoming storm season, they will hear about the various storm warnings, evacuation orders and how to prepare a home for a storm. With all the information swirling about, including checklists for purchasing batteries, flashlights and water, it’s important not to lose sight of protecting life…

MUST-HAVES IN A HURRICANE

Preparation ahead of time is essential in keeping your family and you safe. While it’s important to have jugs of water, a working generator and batteries for flashlights, here are some gadgets to consider adding to your supplies. STORE FRESH WATER | This WaterBob containment system holds up to 100 gallons of fresh drinking water…

Our money is on ‘Edouard’ or ‘Isaias’

To better communicate with the public, forecasters worldwide use short, distinctive names to describe tropical storms and hurricanes. According to the National Hurricane Center, the practice of naming storms is especially important when exchanging detailed weather information among hundreds of widely scattered weather stations, coastal bases and ships at sea. That said, it seems hurricanes…

BEWARE OF POST-STORM scams

The aftermath of a hurricane can be a lot to deal with and people are especially vulnerable during post-storm times. Some scammers may claim to work for a charity and extract money from you. Or, a contractor who wants to make repairs on your home offers you a deal that’s too good to be true….

Hurricane Home Supplies

What to take if you evacuate and what to have if you stay are two separate lists. For example, is it wise to take up space in the car with a case of water when that will be available to buy at your evacuation destination? What about your tools like a chainsaw? What if you…

Garden devastated by Irma revamped, resilient

Gardening enthusiast Sherry Coussens remembers the debris and downed fencing as she peered around at the wrath inflicted by Hurricane Irma on her Islamorada property. With devastation, however, brought an opportunity to bring back a stronger, more resilient garden that still maintained that comforting, tropical feel she had and loved. Coussens was crushed upon returning…

Self-sufficient, storm-proficient

Every Florida Keys resident who recalls Hurricane Irma also remembers the bitter, post-storm feud between anxious officials and angry evacuees, desperate to re-enter the Keys and survey their damaged homes. In the months following Hurricane Irma, Marty Senterfitt, who at the time was Monroe County’s emergency management director, acknowledged the unique abilities of Keys residents…

Get out while the getting is good

First, if the officials say it’s time to go, believe them; the decision is never made lightly. And tune in to the media frequently for not only the latest storm track, but also important notifications from local agencies. Rest assured: the Keys have a very detailed and practiced plan in place. All of the Keys…

Insurance for the Reef

At the end of the last hurricane season, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) began assessing the potential of implementing an innovative insurance program for Florida’s coral reefs. Reef insurance is exactly what it sounds like — an insurance policy on a coral reef. Unlike car insurance, which reimburses for damages assessed after a car accident, reef…

THE KEYS HAVE A PLAN

Monroe County, as well as all the municipalities in the Florida Keys such as Key West, Marathon, Layton, Islamorada Village of Islands and Key Colony Beach, have developed their own Disaster Preparedness Plan especially to deal with tropical cyclone emergencies. The multiple purposes of this plan are: • Reduce vulnerability of people to damage, injury…

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