Hurricane safety book a must-read
I'M sure Hawaii's recreational boaters are aware by now that another hurricane season is upon us, especially if they read Mary Adamski's informative article in the Star-Bulletin about a week ago.
It was comforting to learn that forecasters predict we will see fewer than normal tropical cyclones this year. However, as Central Pacific Hurricane Center director James Wyman pointed out, "Even if we have fewer storms, that doesn't mean we can't have an intense storm."
As the folks along the U.S. Gulf Coast now know after Katrina, it only takes one hurricane to alter your life forever. And, as they also learned, government agencies are unable to provide completely for the public's protection and recovery from such a disaster.
Government can and does help us to prepare for such disasters by providing basic instructions in our phone books and some educational literature on the subject.
One booklet that all boat owners should have is the "Hawaii Boater's Hurricane Safety Manual," created by the state's Department of Land and Natural Resources and the University of Hawaii's Sea Grant Program.
Veteran readers of this column know I have promoted this manual for several years. It's because I believe it offers boat owners the best advice currently available on taking the steps needed to minimize damage to their vessels.
After defining severe weather terminology, the manual explains the basic characteristics of the tropical cyclonic storms that may threaten Hawaii.
It then presents the general precautionary measures all boaters should take -- both long- and short-term -- prior to a hurricane's arrival. This is followed by more specific suggestions for owners of vessels ranging from small outboards to large yachts.
Perhaps the most important section of the manual is the "Hurricane Plan Worksheet," where boat owners can enter all of the information they, or someone else, may need to know in the event of a major storm.
By having an inventory of all items that should be removed, or the location of extra mooring lines, fenders, anchors, etc., anyone held responsible can effectively prepare a vessel in a minimum of time.
The object of the worksheet is to help boaters make rational, well-thought-out decisions before the pressure of an impending disaster clouds the decision-making process.
Additionally, such documentation can be shown to insurance companies as evidence that boat owners have made every attempt to protect their property and that of others. This is an important factor, as boat owners can be held responsible when "reasonable and prudent" actions were not taken.
So, whether you are new to boating, or an old salt that has just been procrastinating about getting prepared for the "big one," now is the time to pick up a copy of the Hawaii Boater's Hurricane Safety Manual.
All state harbormasters have them and the price is right -- it's free.