Large boat owners advised to move vessels ahead of ‘monstrous’ Hurricane Dorian


Hurricane watches have been extended northward from Florida’s eastern coast to parts of Georgia, according to The Weather Channel. Image courtesy of Twitter.

Large boat operators, including luxury yacht owners, in Florida are being urged to move their vessels to inland marinas ahead of “monstrous” Hurricane Dorian; the most powerful storm to hit the Bahamas since records began.

“Sustained winds between 39 and 54 mph are possible within 24 hours”, the US Coast Guard warned this morning (Monday, September 2). “Mariners are reminded there are no safe havens in these facilities [at the Port of Jacksonville and Fernandia], and ports are safest when the inventory of vessels is at a minimum.”

Owners of large boats have been urged to “move their vessels to inland marinas where they will be less vulnerable to breaking free of their moorings or to sustaining damage”. Watercraft should be moved as soon as possible, as most bridges will be locked down and will not open until after the severe weather has passed.

‘Move vessels to inland marinas’

The Coast Guard Captain of the Port of Jacksonville and Fernandia advised: “All ocean-going commercial vessels and ocean-going barges greater than 500 gross tons should make plans for departing the port.”

Port facilities were advised to review their heavy weather plans and to take all necessary precautions to adequately prepare for the expected conditions.

The Coast Guard has sent smaller vessel operators a blunt message: “Stay off the water. The Coast Guard’s search and rescue capabilities degrade as storm conditions strengthen. This means help could be delayed. Boaters should heed weather watches, warnings, and small craft advisories.”

‘Stay off the water’

Life rings, lifejackets, and small boats should be secured firmly, it said. “These items, if not properly secured, can break free and require valuable search and rescue resources be diverted to ensure people are not in distress.”

One superyacht industry insider told Superyacht Investor that luxury yachts, aside from local vessels, are unlikely to be in the area at this high-risk time of year.  

“Personally, I would not want to be on a boat north of about 6º N until the ‘official’ end of hurricane season,” the insider told us. “Underwriters are reluctant to insure vessels to cross from Europe before about mid-November, as it’s just generally asking for trouble until the hurricanes are clearly finished for the season.”

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump told reporters on Sunday (September 1) that the storm “looks monstrous”. The US east coast would “be ultimately impacted and some of it very, very severely”, reported BBC News.

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