Post Hurricane Boating in SW Florida

After the devastation of Hurricane Ian, many of us boaters want to get back on the water. Maybe to feel a sense of normalcy or to just run your boat after sitting on the dock for over four weeks. A few tips for the Captain’s bridge for those that feel the need to go explore.

  1. Do not rely on your Chartplotter or your mouse tracks, sandbars have shifted, debris in the water will render your old tools nearly useless. Think tree stumps, floating trash cans. Instead go much slower than before, have a watchman on the bow to detect debris or other navigational hazards. Use your split view GPS and Sonar. Your sonar is going to be your best friend for at least a few months.
  2. Wear your floatation device when making way
  3. Wear your engine cut-off switch lanyard when making way
  4. Pay particular attention to the location of pre-Ian lateral makers on your chart plotter, they may be broken off or just lurking under the water surface, ready to hit your bow. Report missing markers to the USGC.
  5. Replace any dock lines that may have experienced stress from withstanding the Hurricane winds or surf. Nylon dock lines may stretch up to 30%, but afterwards may be rendered impaired.
  6. Pay attention to your Drainplug, did you remove it while on the lift?
  7. Bring trash bags and any grab-all device to remove debris and trash in the water
  8. Watch out for our Dolphin and Manatee friends, they seem to be extremely curious now.

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