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An Ounce of Prevention Equals a Pound of Cure
Boaters kick off storm season with hurricane preparations

Posted Thursday, June 16, 2005

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A review of last year's hurricane boat claims by the BoatU.S. Marine Insurance
Catastrophe Response Team found that only 25% of Florida boaters had made the proper
storm preparations.

Hurricane season is off and running and marine insurance experts say you can prepare
now for the next hurricane or suffer the same fate as those unfortunate boat owners
last fall who lost their boats or had serious damage.

A review of last year's hurricane boat claims by the BoatU.S. Marine Insurance
Catastrophe Response Team found that only 25% of Florida boaters had made the proper
storm preparations. "These boats largely survived because time was spent early in
the season to develop a basic hurricane plan which was then later implemented when
disaster struck," said Carroll Robertson, vice president, BoatU.S. Marine Insurance
Claims Division.

Below is an easy "to-do" list that will help boaters get their own hurricane plan
organized now:

Hurricane To Do List

· Free guide: Download from or call 800-283-2883
for a free copy of the BoatU.S. Hurricane Warning preparation guide. This guide is
the product of two decades of first-hand experience in handling hurricane boat
losses by the BoatU.S. Hurricane Catastrophe Team.

· Make your plan: Grab a pencil and paper and use the guide to draft your own
personal hurricane plan for 2005.

· Get it now: Buy supplies you will need now - lines, anchors, fenders, chafing
products, tape, etc.

· Absentee options: One of the major complaints from marinas and local officials
following the 2004 season was that absentee owners did not arrange any boat
preparations. Designate a friend, relative or neighbor now who can implement your
plan if you are out of town or unable to prepare the boat.

· Haul-out: Generally, boats stored on land fare better than those left in the
water. Even those vessels on jack-stands that blew over last year were repairable
while thousands of boats that sank in docks or were washed ashore were total losses.
Now is the time to talk with your marina about their hurricane plan and to get on a
list for haul-out. If your marina offers a "Hurricane Club" that guarantees certain
precautions such as haul out priority, a tie down system for boats stored ashore or
other measures, join it. One marina owner reported that every boat in his hurricane
club made it through Hurricane Jeanne while every boat that was left in the water
was blown ashore and damaged. A tie-down system at another marina saved 173 of the
178 boats stored ashore.

· Haul-out help: Check to see if your insurance company offers "Hurricane Haul-Out"
coverage which can help cover haul-out fees, expenses to hire someone to prepare the
boat at the dock or marina, or to move it to a hurricane hole prior to a NOAA-named
storm. FYI - All BoatU.S. "yacht" policies include this coverage automatically.

· Hole it: If haul-outs are not possible, locate the nearest hurricane hole where
your boat could be moved and secured prior to a storm. Also do a "try out" to find
out how long it will take to get there by boat.

· Drawbridge diligence: Know the drawbridge schedules in your area and what their
emergency lock-down times will be.

· Track changes: Expect a hurricane's forecasted track to change when monitoring
weather warnings. Normal range of error is 87 miles one day before landfall. This
could mean the difference between utter destruction and moderate wind damage. Also
expect that storms can intensify, sometimes within hours.

For more information visit or call 800-283-2883.
BoatU.S. - Boat Owners Association of The United States - is the nation's leading
advocate for recreational boaters providing its 595,000 members with a wide array of
consumer services.

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