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Batten down the hatches, boat owners

Here are hurricane readiness tips for boaters:

• Take action early. Don't wait until a hurricane warning is declared. The storm's fringe activity will make preparations difficult.

• Before hurricane season, check the strength of primary cleats, winches and chocks if your boat will remain in berth. They should have substantial back plates and adequate stainless steel bolts.

• Double all lines, with rig-crossing spring lines fore and aft. Attach lines high on pilings to allow for tidal fall and rise or surge. Mooring line sizes: for boats up to 20 feet, three-eighths-inch in diameter; 20 to 34 feet, half-inch or larger; 35 to 55 feet, five-eighths-inch or larger; 56 feet and longer, three-quarter-inch or larger. Protect lines from chafing by covering rub spots with leather or old garden hose.

• Charge batteries for automatic bilge pumps.

• Seal all openings with duct tape to make the boat as watertight as possible.

• Reduce dock or piling damage by securing old tires along the sides of the boat.

• Remove loose gear from the deck. Store it securely inside or at home.

• For a boat stored on a trailer, lash the boat and trailer down in a protected area. Let the air out of the tires before tying the trailer down. Place blocks between the frame members and the axle inside each wheel. Secure with heavy lines to fixed objects from four directions, if possible. If you prefer, remove the boat from the trailer and lash down each separately.

• Remove and store the outboard motor, battery and electronics.

• Small boats can be filled with water to give them added weight after lashing down.

• If you like your boat more than your car, put it in the garage.

Batten down the hatches, boat owners 05/15/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 1:58pm]

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