and at worst topple the boat or destroy
your neighbor’s rigging. Reducing windage is even more important for boats left
in the water, so strip everything you can.
Use tape to seal hatches and dorade
vents. Tie down tillers or wheels and
remove anything that could blow away.
Check the bilge pumps, and ensure the
batteries are fully charged. It’s likely
your marina won’t have shore power if
there’s a direct hit. Remove personal
effects, valuables, and ship’s paperwork,
and bring it all home.
effects of a hurricane is stressful,
and hopefully in
the aftermath you
and your family
have come through
unharmed. If your
boat was damaged,
contact your insurance company immediately. If your policy is with BoatU.S,
you can do this online at BoatUS.com/
Claims, via the all-new BoatU.S. app, or
by calling our claims department 24/7
at 800-937-1937. In the meantime, as
soon as it’s safe, here are some things
you should do to protect your boat and
reduce potential problems:
1. If your boat is damaged, accessible,
and it’s safe to do so, remove as much
equipment as possible to protect it from
looters or vandals.
2. Protect the boat from weather exposure, leaks, mildew, dry mud,
and so on. Inspect for leaks in all cabinets and lazarettes. Also check and clean
3. If the engine and other machinery have been submerged or gotten wet,
“pickle” it by flushing with freshwater and
then filling with diesel fuel or kerosene.
4. If your boat is sunk or must be
moved by a salvage company, let your
insurance company assist with the
arrangements. Do not sign any salvage
or wreck-removal contracts, including the
BoatU. S. salvage form, without f irst getting
approval from your insurance claims staff
because it could jeopardize coverage.
Associate editor Charles Fort also leads our
BoatU.S. Consumer Protection department.
A USCG-licensed captain, he lived aboard
and cruised for many years.
Go to BoatUS.
learn how to
The numbers at the bottom of the chart
show the number of hurricanes predicted
for each year. Red icons above the line
indicate how many more hurricanes there
were than predicted. Blue icons below the
line indicate how many fewer hurricanes
there were than predicted.
Predicted vs. actual hurricanes by year
’ 95 ’ 96 ’ 97 ’98 ’ 99 ’00 ’01 ’02 ’03 ’04 ’05 ’06 ’07 ’08’09 ’ 10 ’ 11 ’ 12 ’ 13 ’ 14 ’ 15 ’ 16 Year
app is one of
ways to file
a claim. Go
The challenge of predicting hurricane seasons
Every spring a number of sources try to predict — based on years of experience, and using supercomputers — how many tropical storms and hurricanes will form in the Atlantic. One of the better-known hurricane-season forecasts comes from
Colorado State University’s Philip Klotzbach and the late Bill Gray. We looked at 22
years of hurricane-season predictions from that group to test their accuracy. Out of all
the forecasts, only one season was predicted perfectly. In some years, there were up to
eight more storms than predicted.
The takeaway? Never rely on early-season predictions to decide what to do with
your boat. In our warming climate, tropical storms and hurricanes are getting stronger, so it’s even more important to have a hurricane plan in place and have your boat
prepared when a storm threatens, despite the forecasts. Your mantra should be
“Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.” — C.F.
Number of Predicted Hurricanes