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August 19, 2009

Tropical storms flare up and remind boaters to prepare

At the online BoatU.S. Hurricane Resource Center, boaters can find a downloadable 12-page guide

One. That is the number of hurricanes a national boat owners group says it takes to wreck thousands of recreational boats in only a few hours. And with tropical storm activity heating up over the last few days, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatU.S.) is offering a no-cost, online storm preparation tool at www.BoatUS.com/hurricanes that can help boaters ensure their vessel makes it safely through the next storm.

"It's been a slow hurricane season, so far," says BoatU.S. Director of Damage Avoidance Bob Adriance, "which leads some to forget the importance of storm preparation. However, research has shown that the chances of a boat being damaged can be significantly reduced with the right preparation. The time to think about storm preparations is now, before a hurricane watch is posted for your area."

Storm preparations include hauling boats from marinas or removing them from boat lifts and securing them ashore with tie downs, reducing windage by removing things like biminis and sails, adding extras lines and chafe protection to boats in a slip, and other measures.

At the online BoatU.S. Hurricane Resource Center , boaters can find a downloadable 12-page Guide to Preparing Boats and Marinas for Hurricanes, a hurricane preparation worksheet, and current hurricane tracking charts with up-to-the minute storm tracking tools with landfall strike probabilities, wind band information and "spaghetti" models showing forecasters' predicted storm paths, "Our goal with the web site is to give everything you ever wanted to know about hurricane preparation, and it's open for anyone to use," adds Adriance.