ALEXANDRIA, Va. — BoatU.S. says high winds, heavy rain, and rising water levels from Hanna have the potential to cause widespread damage as it crosses the Chesapeake Bay sometime this Saturday, then moves up the Atlantic coast to Long Island Sound and New England on Sunday.
"The remnants of this hurricane will still be a very powerful storm," said BoatU.S. Technical Director Bob Adriance. "Even though Hanna is likely to be downgraded to a tropical storm after its first landfall in the Carolinas, boaters further north along its path need to prepare their boats, or possibly face expensive repairs or an early end to the fall boating season," he added.
BoatU.S. suggests that boaters make these preparations:
Scuppers: With any boat, in the water or stored ashore, ensure that cockpit and deck scuppers are free of debris so rain can drain easily.
Small boats: If possible, small open boats and boats with low freeboard should be taken out of the water and put on trailers.
Boatlifts: Vessels stored on boatlifts in the Chesapeake Bay during Hurricane Isabel proved to be especially vulnerable to the combined effect of wind, rain and surge. When drain plugs were left in, rain added considerable weight and many lifts collapsed. If the drain plug was left out, the boat was flooded by Isabel's extraordinary surge. With Hanna, the best solution is to take the boat out of the water and store it ashore on a trailer. An alternative is to move the boat to a well-protected slip if one is available. Don't have the time? Go to http://www.BoatUS.com/procaptains to find a delivery captain who can move your boat to safer location.
Extra lines: Boats in slips should have extra lines and fenders.
Windage: Remove biminis, sails, and dodgers to reduce windage and line strain.
Haul-out: Need help hauling out your boat? Ask your insurance company if they have a program to help pay for the cost of a storm related haul-out.
Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatU.S.) has some free online "tools" available at the BoatU.S. "Hurricane Resource Center" at http://www.BoatUS.com/Hurricanes including downloadable storm planning materials and checklists for what to do before and after a hurricane strikes.