Marine Construction Magazine understands that no matter how well a Marina is built, hurricanes present a significant challenge to public safety and property. As your leading resource for the Marine Construction Industry, with tens of thousands of readers, we wish to share our thoughts on how you can best prepare for hurricanes and other major storms.
While the full scope of necessary measures to prepare for extreme weather events requires far more detail than can be provided in a blog, there are some key aspects that everyone should understand. While Marina owners and operators must have a thorough understanding of hurricane prep, boat owners and those who live near marine facilities should have some level of awareness for both their own safety, and to ensure that the marinas they frequent are at the top of their preparation game. Here are three key elements to proper hurricane
1. What are the priorities in creating a Hurricane preparation plan?
Before going into detail of HOW to prepare, it is important to understand WHAT we are looking to protect the most, in the case of a hurricane. The most pressing concern in any weather event is the protection of human life, followed by the prevention or minimization of personal injury. After concerns of the well-being of boaters, visitors, and neighbors, comes the need to protect personal property from damage and minimize the effects of a storm on property that cannot be located to safe ground. Finally, a key goal is to restore normal operations as quickly as possible.
While it is important that a marina is well constructed with the best materials and construction approaches the reality is nothing can completely safeguard a marina from nature’s wrath.
2. Timing – early bird gets the worm… or in this case, is best prepared to weather the storm
Timing is critical for proper storm preparation. The first step is to ensure that a marina has a clear, workable plan, well in advance of any potential storm occurrence. Marine Construction Magazine recommends that you inquire with your marina as to the status of their emergency plans and procedures. In addition, Hurricane preparedness should not be considered something that is utilized only when a threat is imminent. Rather, it should be a part of routine maintenance and daily operations.
When it comes to the preparation itself, the sooner – and more orderly – a marina acts, the better chance of successfully protecting against Mother Nature. By the time a formal U.S. Weather Service Hurricane WATCH is made, it is far too late to begin preparations. As such, marina personnel should be educated on tropical weather conditions and potential threats, so they can report any concerns immediately.
When a threat has been identified, the marina’s management and hurricane response team should immediately assemble to review and monitor the storm’s path. 2-3 days prior to the potential storm hitting the marina, the full response team and the preparedness plan should be activated. 36-48 hours prior the landfall by the Hurricane’s eye, when a Hurricane WATCH has been issued, the securing of the marina and boats should be completed. Evacuation, if necessary, should commence and a marina closing and employee evacuation schedule should be set forth. At this point, entry to the marina should be limited only to those who are necessary to be present.