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Old 05-10-2017, 04:41 AM   #1
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Cyclone Preparations in the Marina

Having just experienced cyclone Debbie with its 24 hours of 150 knot plus winds and inspecting damaged boats in the aftermath I suggest:

No short ropes, anywhere, not enough stretch.
Do not use non stretch rope, it's very hard on bollards, cleats and the pontoon.
Rope to every available cleat and bollard inc across walkways
Don't rely on one rope on any point, double or triple them.
Run ropes to the marina pillars to keep as much load off the fingers as possible
Position the boat as far away from the pontoons as you can.
Rope to the main jetty to spread bollard load
Do not use rope more than 2 years old, it breaks.
Attach fenders to the jetty where you can as they blow up onto the jetty.
Secure your neighbors vessel if needed, vessels here were sunk by their neighbours!
Remove rear canopy, clears and shadecloth covers
Remove aerials and wipers
Take off tender covers and remove any loose contents
Tape up all doors and hatches and anything else not firmly attached
Remove the power cord
Remove all cushions
Be heavy with diesel, fresh water and supplies
Inside prep the boat as you would for heavy weather
Clean bilges and check auto bilge pump switches, it's amazing how much water gets inside a boat in 100 knots plusClick image for larger version

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Most badly damaged boats here were brought down by pontoon failure, their neighbors or snapped ropes. You have to keep shock loads as low as possible to reduce the chance of the marina breaking up
Others were badly beaten by flailing shade and canopy supports, take them off!
There may be no power or water for days afterwards, be prepared.


Finally if you need fenders or rope buy it early before it's all gone!!

My first cyclone, Bluechip survived but I'd prefer not to experience that again! ó at R Marine Crawley Abell Point Marina Airlie Beach QLD
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Old 05-10-2017, 05:20 AM   #2
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Seems to me staying in a marina is asking for trouble and yes, I know most insurance companies require a marina berth be used in a named storm.

Getting out of the area, there was warning, and jamming yourself as far up a creek as possible seems to be a tactic that has worked for eons.

I don't recall hearing of anyone having issues tied down in the mangrove creeks around hinchenbrook island while the marina was decimated.
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Old 05-10-2017, 05:51 AM   #3
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I get that but then you are dependent on whose moored up the creek from you, maybe not so well secured and how do you justify risking a $1 million boat on that gamble given that most insurers insist you are in a cyclone rated marina if you want cover during a named cyclone. No choice really when so much money is at stake. I know I couldn't afford that loss.
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Old 05-10-2017, 05:54 AM   #4
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This one of the 50 plus boats that wasn't in a marina and ended up on the beach, rocks or in the mangroves. I do hope they fix her, lovely old timber boat.
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Old 05-10-2017, 06:35 AM   #5
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Interesting list of learnings Hickers, thanks. Have you thought about where you will be next season yet?

I saw a report of 2000 boats being damaged in the region. Whether that includes boats like Bluechip that received relatively minor damage, I'm not sure. Still, even minor damage comes with costs and hassles with getting things repaired or replaced.

I don't ever see myself being in the north during the cyclone season, even though its a lot of fuel to get back down south. Of course cyclones can, and have been, down here in the past so its not perfectly safe here either.

I tend to have quite a lot of mooring lines in use as a matter of routine. I have them, and they don't help me if still in a locker! I have them doubled in almost every case. Relatively short at bow and stern, and long spring lines in both directions. My berth in the river is subject to ferry wakes 16 hours a day and reversing tidal currents, so I regard using 7 lines appropriate. Still, all but one are double braid. I know now to replace with nylon when the time comes!
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Old 05-10-2017, 06:38 AM   #6
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The snatch loads on the shorter ropes as the surge rolls thru the marina is hard to believe. Stretch is good!!
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Old 05-10-2017, 06:46 AM   #7
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Yes, I've learnt that ferry wakes here are brutal as well. I have snapped two rubber snubbers (3/4" model, see pic) in half when using the bow hawsehole. Its too short and too steep down to dock cleat. Now the bow snubbers go further back, with longer lines and I accept the bow moving sideways in wind and current as well as pitching up and down from the wakes.
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Old 05-10-2017, 07:23 AM   #8
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One thing I learned in Hurricane prep: Do all of the above PLUS do not depend wholly on the marina or the owners of the boats around you making preparation.

As you walk away from your vessel, say a little prayer, AND take plenty of pictures to show the insurance company that you did your best to prepare if there is trouble.
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Old 05-10-2017, 09:35 AM   #9
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True, like many things in life luck/Chance plays a part, all you can do is try and move the odds in your favour.
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Old 05-10-2017, 11:01 AM   #10
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...like many things in life luck/Chance plays a part, all you can do is try and move the odds in your favour.
We've been through two hurricanes, Ivan in 2004 and Jimena in 2009 and we were lucky. I know staying on a boat is not my fist choice and marina options are what they are, not always the best. You do as much prep as you can and then keep your fingers crossed.

Jimena was only a Cat 1. We had 13 lines out and all the bumpers we had after the boat was stripped of anything that could move. The docks were for fair weather only. After the storm we felt lucky. We were able to motor away. The locals pretty much lost everything.
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Old 05-10-2017, 03:02 PM   #11
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This one of the 50 plus boats that wasn't in a marina and ended up on the beach, rocks or in the mangroves. I do hope they fix her, lovely old timber boat.
I'd put money on that being not up a mangrove system and instead being anchored out front on a less than substantial anchor.
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Old 05-10-2017, 03:20 PM   #12
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how do you justify risking a $1 million boat on that gamble given that most insurers insist you are in a cyclone rated marina if you want cover during a named cyclone. No choice really when so much money is at stake. I know I couldn't afford that loss.
You don't risk it and I consider putting my vessel in a marina risky.
Like many you ensure your boat is out of harms way during cyclone season which was the first part of my comment.
Preparedness for me is running south well in advance.
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Old 05-16-2017, 05:14 AM   #13
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Yes that's a solution but this is our home and where my job is so not really an option. I will trust that it will be a while before Airlie is hit by a slow moving cat 4 cyclone!
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Old 05-26-2017, 05:39 PM   #14
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Another Cyclone Debbie victim, we saw this Defever in Nara Inlet on Tuesday when taking friends around the islands.

I hope they weren't on board. Would have been terrifying.
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Old 05-26-2017, 08:21 PM   #15
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Over the years there have been many boats up creeks and inlets during cyclones and some of them end up on the beach, I remember a couple in Hinchinbrook a fair few years ago and Andrew has a good point in that doing this also entails a lot of trust in those other boats that have the same intention. They must also be well tied up in the mangroves and to suitable sized trees. One goes they all go and it is good night Mary and yes you are not covered by your insurance.
I have had my boat thru a few cyclones over the last 20 odd years and at all times Tidahapah has been in a Marina, either Laguna Quays (now not operating) and Mackay.
During Debbie I was away in Western Australia working on a rig tender, the boat as usual was well tied up but thanks to the good work of great friends/marina dwellers, extra lines were put out for me and I was able to watch it all on FB.
Mackay was not as bad as Airlie and no boats were lost, we lost a lot of marina berths and a lot of boats were were damaged, my own berth was nearly torn apart but everything was held together by lines around piles etc.
Thanks for your observations Andrew , good for all to take note of.
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Old 05-26-2017, 10:41 PM   #16
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Yes that's a solution but this is our home and where my job is so not really an option. I will trust that it will be a while before Airlie is hit by a slow moving cat 4 cyclone!
Fair enough.

We thankfully only got the tail end and around 50 knots in Brisbane.
Friends opted to go into Manly and pay the money for a berth for a few days while it blew through and had fenders pop, some covers tear, others had more damage, all of which could have been avoided taking the steps you mention.

We on the other hand tucked down into the bottom of the bay and claimed our spot early.
Barely felt any wind but there was certainly some overhead.

This pic taken on the night demonstrates the protection that can be given.
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