Category Archives: weather

Important Boat Safety Tips Ahead of Hurricane Florence

As Hurricanes Florence makes it way toward the east coast of the United States, we are reminded how important it is to heed the warnings of the National Hurricane Center and prepare for emergency.

While it may not always be possible to remove boats from the water, there are precautions you can take to prepare your boat ahead of a major storm.

BOATS IN WATER

Whenever possible, choose a marina or dock that has some protection from the elements, such as a barrier island or an inland river away from the coast. Also, docks with high pilings can also provide added protection from storm surge.

BoatUs states that floating docks with high pilings tend to fair better during major storms than those without. But keep in mind, BoatUs recommends looking for pilings as tall as 18 feet.

“Floating docks allow boats to rise and fall with surge without stretching and stressing lines,” BoatUs states. “There have been instances where boats at floating docks have been largely unaffected by hurricanes, while some boats at nearby marinas with fixed docks were badly damaged.”

Captain Mark Henderson from the Liquid Fire Fishing Team, who is based in North Carolina (one of the states Florence is predicted to hit), said removing loose items on the boat is important.

Captain Mark Henderson from the Liquid Fire Fishing Team advises boaters to remove anything not permanently attached to a boat ahead of a major storm.

“Anything that is not truly attached, such as cushions and Isinglass, should be removed so it doesn’t get destroyed,” he said. “Isinglass will be blown out.”

Henderson said store loose items in a hatch or on land somewhere in a safer location.

If your boat is moored, check with your harbormaster to see if the mooring is helical – a corkscrew-like mooring that is screwed into the seafloor.

Unlike traditional mushroom and dead-weight mooring anchors, a BoatUs Foundation study found that helical mooring anchors withstood more pull during major storms.

Illustration from ABC Diving. www.abcdiving.com.

“A 500-pound buried mushroom anchor could be pulled out with 1,200 pounds of pull (supplied by a 900-hp tug); an 8,000-pound dead weight (concrete) anchor could be pulled out with 4,000 pounds of pull,” reports BoatUs. “A helical anchor, however, could not be pulled out and the strain gauge recorded 12,000 pounds of pull — its maximum — before a shackle burst apart. (In an earlier test with a larger tug, a strain gauge registered 20,800 pounds before the hawser snapped.)”

BOATS ON LAND

If you can remove your boat from the water, there are various storage options to consider.

BoatUs said dry-stack storage facilities built after 1992 are great options for storing boats during major storms. Dry-stack facilities constructed after Hurricane Andrew are more likely to have stronger structural supports and be able to withstand winds as high as 140 mph. However, BoatUs recommends considering the age of the dry-stack facility, with older buildings at a higher risk for damage.

For Henderson, he is storing his SeaVee 390z with quad engines in the center of an open field with no trees or structures nearby. If this is an option for you, Henderson recommends keeping your boat on its trailer, securely tied and anchored to land.

Henderson’s SeaVee 390z, which is normally stored on a trailer, will be anchored to land in the middle of a field with no trees or structures nearby during Hurricane Florence. Photo courtesy of the Liquid Fire Fishing Team.

“A lot of people tie them down, anchored to the trailer with three straps,” he said. “That way, they can’t blow off the trailer.”

Henderson added that boats, whether in water or on land, should have all antennas down and outrigger poles stowed.

For more information on how you can prepare for a major storm, check out this video from West Marine.

For more information on Hurricane Florence, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Secret to Finding Fish in Cold Windy Weather

If you live in one of the Southern and warmer states, it’s still cold and windy as Jonas plows its way through the upper East Coast. cold weather fishing in the SouthThat said, if you still need to catch your fishing itch, check out the calmer and warmer shelters of residential canals. Depending on where you live, some of you may find a very pleasant surprise. The residential canals offer protection from the cold north winds, and the dock structures create a great place for game fish to hide and ambush prey. Look for canals with a firm sandy or dark mud bottom – they can produce the best place for fish to hang out, especially if the tide is moving.  The offshore bites should pick up again as the winds die down and the surface air warms. Adjustable Poly Filet table is rugged and tilts at any angleIf you plan to save your catch for a few nice meals – we suggest having a Taco Marine adjustable filet table. The table fits into any rod holder and the mount locks at any angle. This FDA approved table conveniently folds flat for storage. Stay warm and catch lots of fish!

 

Winter ice and snow storm Jonas causing many issues for boaters!

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Winter Storm Jonas: Snowfall rates of 1 to 3 inches per hour in Washington, D.C. and New York City areas. The combination of winter storm strong winds and heavy snow will continue to create life-threatening whiteout conditions for anyone attempting to travel this weekend, as well as wide-spread record coastal flooding.

Winter storm Jonas and your boatCheck your boat after it’s safe to travel again. You might inspect your boat for these three potential issues: 1. Possible 50 to 70mph winds could blow off or whip snow up under a boat’s protective coverings, 2. Accumulation of ice and snow creates weight issues for boat wraps and coverings, 3. Coastal flooding from storm surges combined with a full moon this weekend will make tides higher than usual.Jonas Storm snow and ice on a boat Snow-Boat

 

Top 5 Boating Safety Tips for the Fall

Boating float plan is a must safety procedureTip 1: Float Plan. We recommend filling out a U.S. Coast Guard float plan and leave it with a reliable person who you can depend on to notify the Coast Guard if you should not return or check-in as planned. It includes information such as passenger names/age/gender, trip itinerary, radio call sign, boat type/registration info and other important information related to identifying your boat and passengers. It also includes a handy checklist for distress signals and additional gear to take along.

Hypothermia from wet clothes when boatingTip 2: Avoid Hypothermia. In the fall boating season, one of the biggest hazards boaters face is hypothermia, especial if they get wet. Yes, it may be a bit nippy on the water, but avoid wearing clothes like jeans and cotton-based shirts which do not dry as easily or retain heat as well as wool and synthetic materials. In case someone takes a spill, bad weather or just spray from the boats wake – being wet or damp could result in hypothermia, so remember to bring a separate bag of clothing.

Tip 3: Emergency Locator Beacon. Keep in mind because there are fewer boaters on the water in the autumn, that are less boats around to help incase you run into problems. If you are going more than 20 miles off shore, bring a personal locator beacon  (PLB) or an emergency position-indicating radio beacon which in an emergency would help find you by satellite. Don’t have an emergency beacon? Here’s an article on How to Choose an Emergency Beacon by Boating Magazine.

rub rail navigation lights
Taco Marine’s rub rail mounted long-life LED navigation lights have a range of 2 miles.

Tip 4: Digital Selective Calling. If you’ll be out after dark, make sure your navigation lights are working – and if you run into trouble and you need to contact the Coast Guard, make sure your handheld radio is equipped with digital selective calling (DSC) so you can easily send a distress signal.

Tip 5: Check Lists. Yes we all make mental lists of what to bring and check before launching, but consider actually having a printed checklist that one of your mates can check off before you launch. Free: Take advantage of a courtesy boat safety check provided by the U.S. Coast Guard. They will provide a specialist to check out your boat and make helpful safety tips and recommendations you may have overlooked.

How to Best Winterize Your Boat.

Boats being stored for the winter

As the colder weather begins to settle into the Northern states, it’s time to think about preparing your boat for the freezing temperatures just around the corner. If your boat is not properly prepared for the winter, it could be facing damages caused by the cold costing hundreds or even thousands of dollars. The biggest culprit is water. Fresh water dramatically expands by volume when frozen and can crack an engine block, split hoses, damage fiberglass and cooling systems.

BoatUS logoTo protect your boat during the winter, BoatUS does a nice job of covering the details of how to protect hulls, tops, exhaust ports, bilge pumps, drain plugs, dock lines, batteries, lifts and provides many other boat winterizing tips.

BoatUS created a PDF guide of very helpful information, and we at Taco Marine thought it was important to pass along to you. Click here to view and print the Seaworthy “Boaters Guide to Winterizing,” where you will find expert tips on how to store your boat this winter plus a Winterizing Worksheet.

Hurricane Joaquin Forecasted to Move Away from the US Coast

Hurricane Joaquin update 9am Friday, October 2:  Moving away from the coast, BUT – swells affecting portions of the southeastern coast of the United States will spread northward along the east coast of the US through the weekend. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions. Regardless of Joaquin’s track, a prolonged period of elevated water levels and large waves will affect the mid-Atlantic region, causing significant beach and dune erosion with moderate coastal flooding likely. (This will be our last update on hurricane Joaquin unless it turns back towards the US).

Hurricane Joaquin

Hurricane Joaquin Update: Heading Towards East Coast.

Joaquin strengthens; heavy rainfall and flash flooding possible for parts of East Coast regardless of track.

Close to 12″ of additional rain from Joaquin could hit the Carolinas and parts of the East Coast. Many portions of the eastern U.S. are currently experiencing heavy rains and gusty winds associated with a frontal system. These heavy rains are likely to continue for the next few days, even if the center of Joaquin stays offshore. The resulting inland flood potential could complicate preparations for Joaquin should it head toward the coast, and even more substantial inland flooding is possible.

As of 4pm EDT Thursday, October 1st: Forecast Track for Hurricane Joaquin from the National Hurricane Center.  Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 130 mph (now a dangerous Category 4 Hurricane) .

Forecast Track for Hurricane Joaquin

The safety information below is courtesy of BoatU.S. Marine Insurance.

Hurricane for boatersA sample storm arrangement: note the spring lines, which were the longest lines, are now the shortest. Stern lines are extended one or two slips away. Additional bow lines lead across to the next dock or to storm anchors placed out from the slip.

hurricane for boatersOn a face dock, position the boat farther (the farther, the better) than usual from the dock and add offshore lines to hold the boat away from the dock. Offshore lines can lead to distant pilings or trees, such as across a canal, or to anchors if the bottom provides adequate holding.

Click here for tips for securing your boat ashore.