Hurricane Season 2009 — Guilty as Charged
By Steve Morrell
After the heavy 2004 Hurricane season—when Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne hit—we began printing articles on hurricanes and boat preparation. The following year, 2005, I began a hurricane section during the official storm season months (June through November). I continued this through 2008. I became quite knowledgeable on the subject. The section became even more significant since 2005 was another difficult year (remember Katrina?).
After going to press for the June issue, I realized I didn’t have a hurricane section in that issue. I told myself to put one in the July issue, which I put off also. Here it is August—the first of the three months (August, September and October) when the strongest storms seemed to hit—and I still skipped the hurricane section.
So yes—I am guilty of becoming complacent about hurricanes since we haven’t had one in a few years. So I am here today to remind others that hurricane season is here and no matter what others tell you, you have a very good chance of being hit by at least tropical storm force winds (38-73 mph), a good chance of getting hit by winds of Category 1 strength (74-95 mph winds) and a small chance of getting hit by a Category 2 or higher (96 mph and up). These could be from a direct hit by a storm of these sizes or by the outer bands of a strong storm.
There are articles in the paper regularly about how El Niño might prevent many strong storms from developing this year, but this is still an inexact science and they are still unsure.
I am about to take my boat out of the water for the three strong storm months and prepare it with all the knowledge I have gained over the years. It doesn’t take that much effort; a full day of work is all.
For those of you at dock, double up your lines and be ready with all the precautions because remember one of the most important things to know about preparing your boat: When a storm threatens, it will develop quickly and give you very little time, and if you and your boat are not ready quickly, severe damage is likely. To survive what you are most likely to get hit with—tropical storm and category 1 winds—is easy and can be prepared for. And don’t forget that when it gets down to the nitty gritty, you will save yourself and your family and your home first, leaving the boat as the last priority. So, it is more important your boat is better prepared before a storm threatens than anything else—if you care about it.
So, have a plan and remember: A simple basic plan carried out is far superior to a more complete complex plan not carried out.
I still believe that our Web site has some of the best, most useful and most practical information on how to prepare your boat—including links to many of the best Web sites out there that also offer their plans. Check it out at on our hurricane pages.
Good luck and be prepared.