Tornado Preparedness: Marine and Boating Safety

. . . Keeping Your Boat Safe During a Tornado

Tornadoes batter boats, and of all the places where you would want to be when a tornado strikes, a boat is certainly bottom of the list . . . you’ve seen “Perfect Storm” right?

There’s a whole list of movies which they say you should never watch as in-flight entertainment, but what about the movies to avoid on the cross river ferry?  My point exactly.

Right, let’s get back to how you can keep yourself and your boat safe during a tornado. I’m going to get a little technical here, so for anybody who gets lost just go back and watch the movie trailer again!

If you get caught in a tornado out at sea:

  • Any port in a storm, but there are some considerations for both approaching, leaving and berthing in safe harbor.
  • Keep a few options open when navigating through a tornado.  This maneuverability might not be so important during the great wide spaces of the North Atlantic, but for restricted places like the Gulf of Mexico it’s really mega important. It’s best to avoid areas of restricted movement in these cases.
  • On approach to the port it’s important to know whether the hurricane is forecast to be perpendicular to the land or running parallel along the coast. If the hurricane hits the land within around 50 miles of the port then expect more destruction than those which run parallel to the coast over the land.
  • Wind direction is very important when you are making your considerations about berthing your boat. Storm surge, for example, can cause lots of problems in itself if your boat is tied to the pier side. If the water rises and falls rapidly then that’s not good for vessels which can be left high and dry one minute, and are high above the pier side the next. These can become quickly submerged even during a hurricane of minimum strength.
  • Ring your Mom and tell her you love her

If you’re planning a boating trip and want to know more about the possibility of hurricanes arriving whilst you’re all at sea, then think about this:

The 1-2-3 Rule

1 – 100 mile error radius for your 24hr forecast

2 – 200 mile error radius for your 48hr forecast

3 – 300 mile error radius for your 72hr forecast

The Hurricane Danger Area – And How To Avoid It

  • plot both the initial and the hurricane positions on your navigational chart
  • identify the maximum radius of winds at the above time periods, times of the TCM
  • apply our 1-2-3 rule at the 24, 48 and 72 hour positions
  • draw circles around the initial position of the hurricane with a radius equal to the max radius of the winds in TCM
  • draw circles around your 24, 48 and 72 hour positions using the same radii
  • connect tangent lines from each circle along both sides of the track of the hurricane
  • anywhere enclosed by these tangent lines in a hurricane danger zone and should be avoided.