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Old 10-01-2017, 02:58 PM   #1
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Why serious boaters do better in Hurricanes

If you run a boat in the ocean self-reliance is a forgone conclusion. You are the power company, you are the water company, and you are the police department along with many other things. You are responsible for all life and safety issues. Those realities will prepare you for taking care of yourself through the “school of hard knocks”. Most of us are up to the challenge, a few are not. Those who fail to meet the challenge of boating will either quit or in worst case die in the process.

In the event of a hurricane or other disaster the skills acquired through boating serve us well in surviving disasters on land. On top of the management of living well on a boat, we also develop a mental toughness. This gives us the ability to take needed action in the face of real life threating situations. Being on a boat will instruct one on what is critical to survival. Running out of drinking water on a boat on a simple day trip for as little as one day will make you painfully aware of the need for water.

I have now had time to decompress from the experience with the hurricane in the keys and Florida in general. I also have taking a good look at areas in my part of the world which were hit much harder to see if my preparations would stand up to those possibilities.

In looking at what I did well and where I failed a few things stand out.

1. It is not possible for me to prepare for every possible condition. There are storms that cannot be survived. Not a pleasant thought!
2. To move the boat or myself and family completely out of the area would require making a decision days before the storm at a point in time where I have no good idea where the storm will hit. I am not currently willing to do that, so I have to live with the decision no matter what the outcome. Great outcome this time but only because I did not suffer a direct hit.
3. The ten day supply of drinking water I store is not enough. It worked in this case but would be an issue in a longer duration condition. Puerto Rico comes to mind. I now store a 21 day supply.
4. My two generators did the job with room to spare. My sat phone provided me communications without interruption. My wife has enough food in the freezer to feed the whole block for a week…lol The small roll around AC unit I have in my garage ran well on the gen set and was a super nice luxury.
5. Fuel was really hard to come by, both before and after the storm. Having two hundred gallons in the boat was a great place to store fuel. Also a good excuse to tell your wife why you should own an outboard…lol I ordered two new five gallon cans. I bought a new chain saw with spar blade plenty of oil.
6. I think I am as prepared now as I can be for the next storm.
I may wish for good luck but I will always take action in advance to prepare. The thinking process is useful but only if it results in taking action.

What did you guys learn new from the storm?
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Old 10-01-2017, 03:23 PM   #2
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Nice summation.
The only comment that comes quickly to mind is relying on the boat fuel tank for the genny fuel. What if you lose the boat to the storm?
I lived through the North East blackout a number of years ago, my take away from that was the purchase of (5) 5 gasoline cans. Which I kept full at all times. I would sequentially rotate the fuel through the lawn tractor to keep it fresh.
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Old 10-01-2017, 03:48 PM   #3
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other that referring you to point 1. lol I also can get gas from my tank in my truck plus the 15 gal I keep in cans plus the gas in the car.

The real issue with gas is how to store it in large amounts at my house. Having it in the boat is pretty safe. The other advantage is that it will never get old setting in my boat...lol
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Old 10-01-2017, 03:50 PM   #4
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The thinking process is useful but only if it results in taking action.

What did you guys learn new from the storm?
People that abandon their boats to a hurricane raise the insurance rates for all of us. People that live in known hurricane areas and don't build their houses to hurricane standards raise the insurance rates for all of us.
Everybody in those areas should be aware supplies will become scarce before and after a major storm. It's no secret, in my long life I've seen it every time.
I've dodged hurricanes and tsunamis. I always managed to know the path of the storm or where a tsunami would be dangerous. There is plenty of time to move boats before the ocean is dangerous in either case. Hurricane likely paths are known many days and hundreds of miles in advance. In a week, even a sailboat could be 500 miles out of the path.
Owning a boat or a house and protecting a family comes with responsibility. For those that abandon that responsibility, I can only hope it helps the gene pool in the long term.
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Old 10-01-2017, 04:00 PM   #5
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1. It is not possible for me to prepare for every possible condition. There are storms that cannot be survived. Not a pleasant thought!
2. To move the boat or myself and family completely out of the area would require making a decision days before the storm at a point in time where I have no good idea where the storm will hit. I am not currently willing to do that, so I have to live with the decision no matter what the outcome. Great outcome this time but only because I did not suffer a direct hit.
3. The ten day supply of drinking water I store is not enough. It worked in this case but would be an issue in a longer duration condition. Puerto Rico comes to mind. I now store a 21 day supply.
4. My two generators did the job with room to spare. My sat phone provided me communications without interruption. My wife has enough food in the freezer to feed the whole block for a week…lol The small roll around AC unit I have in my garage ran well on the gen set and was a super nice luxury.
5. Fuel was really hard to come by, both before and after the storm. Having two hundred gallons in the boat was a great place to store fuel. Also a good excuse to tell your wife why you should own an outboard…lol I ordered two new five gallon cans. I bought a new chain saw with spar blade plenty of oil.
6. I think I am as prepared now as I can be for the next storm.
I may wish for good luck but I will always take action in advance to prepare. The thinking process is useful but only if it results in taking action.

What did you guys learn new from the storm?
1. You can build so that surviving is more likely. What you can't control is the infrastructure around you. You can't guarantee survival, but homes and businesses can be built to greatly improve odds just as marinas can be.
2. We are where we are, no moving. We feel like we're well protected.
3. Water is an absolute factor. We drink and regularly buy huge quantities of water
4. Our generators are fine but we do fuel with natural gas. It could always have issues. Then we've had issues.
5. Have boats, cars and anything else fueled.
6. Definitely is luck involved in how direct you're hit.

7. The value of numbers for support and comfort. Our house became the place for us and our extended family. We ended up with a very large group here. We all found it very comforting to have others present and their support.
8. Multiple modes of transportation. We had options for water and we had cars strategically placed at other locations. For a couple of days while our streets were blocked, we took the water to these cars and back.
9. The value of Satellite phones and keeping them around, even extras. Communications are in some ways a more severe issue than electricity. We don't want to live without electricity but we can. However, without communications you can't know what is going on outside a very small area.
10. Hurricanes hurt worst those who can least afford it. They're the least likely to be insured and the least likely to have generators and have adequate supplies stored. Then the least able to rebuild.
11. As a businessman and customer, returning to any level of operation at all as soon as possible helps all in many ways. I remember seeing a long line of cars and wondering if a lane was blocked. No, it was the first fast food restaurant in the area, a McDonald's. Even if just for a few minutes the world was right again for those who went there. I was amazed when a couple of the webcams in Key West were back up and to look on Duval St. and see little traffic but see a couple of places open and a few customers. I know it made me smile and feel better just seeing it. A long recovery ahead but that showed me it had started.
12. If you have regular medications, order a little ahead each month and build a safety supply. Just as important for many as food and water.
13. Our sick, in hospitals and nursing homes, our elderly, are not adequately protected. Some facilities have good generators and some don't. The biggest loss of life in our area was a single nursing home, sadly across the street from a hospital, but no one did anything as the heat rose and people got sick. We all probably need to "adopt" a facility to check on since some operators can't be trusted. Seeing those in PR who were on dialysis or getting cancer treatments left without is heart breaking.
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Old 10-01-2017, 04:01 PM   #6
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Wifey B: Even at it's best, our house is less self sufficient than our boat.
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Old 10-01-2017, 04:26 PM   #7
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If you carry a chainsaw, you qualify as serious in my book!
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Old 10-01-2017, 05:24 PM   #8
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If you carry a chainsaw, you qualify as serious in my book!
Wifey B: I don't carry a chainsaw.

We just have palm trees so not a lot of sawing to do.
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Old 10-01-2017, 05:47 PM   #9
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My preparation before Irma come - 100g of fresh water in tank. 3/4 of fuel in tank ( around 200g of diesel). Service my 8kW genset. Plenty of dry food for 7 days. I am in a slip in a marina - tide the boat and slip to the pier. My boat and the slip come out OK.For 2 days I supply to others a fresh coffee in the morning. I learn from last year Mathew of how to secure my boat. Preparation is the key.
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Old 10-01-2017, 06:03 PM   #10
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What did you guys learn new from the storm?
good question!!!

I did 1 000NM to escape for Irma and second time for Maria :face palm: I was back home after Iram, but no regret I saw my family between and I brink back first aid and stuff for friends

- I learn be prepared for the second one.
- I bought 2 roll of 300' of 2" rope to secure me boat in case of tropical storm, for Maria I escape again south but at the end I stopped on St Lucia, some report say 30kt of wind some 60kt I regret to not have my 2 roll of rope...
At the end on the Marina in St Lucia I got only 30kt
- I have sat phone but no functional so I need to make this phone running
- I also need to buy sat phone for my company and family, I can call then in case of... Island was totally cut of the rest of the world for 24H no news from my wife and kids (she don't want to navigate before hurricane (and I respecte)
- On AIS onboard, stupide for the price that cost, in Martinique the guy instal one onboard in 3 hours (super company I stop to ask 4 hours later was installed !!!
- need more cash onboard, fist tripe I bought so much staff for friend (15 diesel generators lot of chainsaw I kill all my credit card :bang head:

the most important is to leave in time and not waiting to much and expecting hurricane going to take a good track
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Old 10-01-2017, 07:29 PM   #11
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My first takeaway was to have the coconuts cut off the trees at the beginning of hurricane season. That little over site will likely cost me several thousand dollars.

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Old 10-01-2017, 07:49 PM   #12
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My first takeaway was to have the coconuts cut off the trees at the beginning of hurricane season. That little over site will likely cost me several thousand dollars.

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Old 10-01-2017, 07:59 PM   #13
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all good ideas.....I also tend to hit the ATM and have more cash on hand than normal just in case. I also think its important to have some sort of diversion/enjoyment to pass some time. A good book, a way to play some music, a deck of cards, etc. Depression and boredom can make a bad situation much worse.
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Old 10-01-2017, 08:06 PM   #14
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all good ideas.....I also tend to hit the ATM and have more cash on hand than normal just in case. I also think its important to have some sort of diversion/enjoyment to pass some time. A good book, a way to play some music, a deck of cards, etc. Depression and boredom can make a bad situation much worse.
Cash was a problem too after hurricane that the only way to pay no phone no internet all plastic money was out of order :bang head:

All my friend ask me to bring back cash
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Old 10-01-2017, 08:12 PM   #15
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Wifey B: Cash, distractions, and lots of extra charged supplemental batteries and charged batteries and solar chargers for phones, tabllets, etc.
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Old 10-01-2017, 10:55 PM   #16
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Our hurricane prep was after 20 years to sell everything we owned in St Thomas and move to the PNW. Regret not being there to help our friends but do not regret the move.
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Old 10-02-2017, 01:26 AM   #17
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Anyone have thoughts of moving out of hurricane territory?
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Old 10-02-2017, 04:59 AM   #18
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A lot of good ideas, bug we will always forget something, hope it's minor.

It's not hard to reasonably get supplies in advance, but needs to be done timely.
Getting gas, water, food, generator, cash is easy in advance, but long before the hurricane becomes any threat.

Most of us won't have hurricane proof houses, especially in a flood zone, but can still prepare as best we can. Mine is not and never will be.

So, my plan is to bail if it's a cat 1 or greater that will hit us straight on, or from the water. I might hang around for a cat 1 from the land side. Our biggest issue is surge.

I left Sat afternoon by plane, but had to get a commissioner to open the airport. Our city, in its infinite wisdom close the airport 2 days early, pissing off a lot of guys that wanted to protect their aircraft. The airport is 6 feet msl. I flew off to Missouri and had a great 4 day vacation in a great place on the water, and even went boating a few times. Life was very good.

Returning, I flew over/thru the remains of the storm, which was now just a wet, weak mess.

We were very fortunate, minor roof damage and a fence down, and a lot of debris. A small tornado messed up a bunch of trees in the adjacent lot and probably went right over my boats. No damage to the boats. No loss of electricity, when most of the rest of town was out including the Publix two blocks away.

Gas was in short supply for a few days, so I gave mine to friends and family, as I didn't need any.

Questions:

What did you do to protect the glass on you boat, some kind of hurricane shutter or?.

For you flood zone guys, have you even thought of sealing up part of your house for flood, like the first 4 feet? A friend did that years ago in a storm and it worked. Used 3/4 plywood and sealed it with caulk. I did that in the 2004 hurricane, but we never flooded.
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Old 10-02-2017, 05:00 AM   #19
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Anyone have thoughts of moving out of hurricane territory?
Not a chance. Life is where you want to be and accept the risks, and there's some risks and issues everywhere. I'm in FL for keeps.
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Old 10-02-2017, 05:14 AM   #20
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"People that live in known hurricane areas and don't build their houses to hurricane standards raise the insurance rates for all of us."

This is because the wrong folks set the standards dor constructioin.

The town or county has codes that create the minimum standard that can be built.

To me it would be better if the folks that write the checks , the insurance companies had say 4 or 5 standards , that start at the poorest , the county standard, and go up in quality , and down in premium cost .

This would allow a home buyer to know just what to expect when the big breeze comes.And if desired purchase a stronger home.
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