Disaster management tells sailors to get ready (Hurricane preparedness)

POSTED: 07/23/15 10:47 PM


Gonzalo boat wrecksThis is what these oats looked like after hurricane Gonzalo was done with them in October 2014. File photo Today / Milton Pieters

St. Maarten (DCOMM) – The Office of Disaster Management (ODM) advises boat owners to review their hurricane preparatory plans so they are ready to take action in the event of a hurricane threat to the island during the remaining months of the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season.

The hurricane season has already seen three systems form but they have not affected the island.  “How have you prepared yourself for the hurricane season?” ODM advises sailors to ask themselves.

ODM asks mariners to make special preparations to stay with friends or in a hotel and not to remain on their vessel during the passing of a hurricane while moored in the Simpson Bay Lagoon or in Oyster Pond.

Systems that are forecast to make landfall within 50-100 nautical miles of a particular port tend to be more destructive than those that approach the port from over land or parallel the coast in the vicinity of the port.  Also, ports located in the right front quadrant, based on direction of movement of hurricanes during landfall tend to have higher winds, seas, and storm surge.

The decision to leave port for hurricane avoidance must be made very clearly.  Consideration to the latest safe departure time and likely avoidance routes must be balanced with a number of other factors.  Most important of these is time versus distance.

The risk of damage to a vessel at sea increases as the motion of the hurricane increases towards the maximum safe speed of the vessel attempting to leave port in advance of that system.

Considerations to remain in port during hurricane passage must include an evaluation of the protection the port offers.  The direction from which the strongest winds are forecast to blow along with the potential for storm surge must be factored in when deciding whether to seek haven pier side or at anchorage.

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