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Stormy weather?:Boaters urged to prepare

By Staff | Aug 26, 2016

It takes a little more than tying your vessel to the dock when the threat of a storm draws near.

That’s what Kendall Wiseley, sergeant of Marine Operations with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, told reporters at a press conference Thursday afternoon at their marine office at Cape Harbour.

With a storm brewing just off the Atlantic coast, there a real possibility it could come our way, perhaps much stronger than it is now.

Those who own boats or other floating vessels need to give themselves enough time to prepare to get the job done, Wiseley said, regardless of whether it’s in the water or not.

Tips included:

* If a vessel is stored on a trailer, you want to secure the vessel to the trailer with straps. You want to remove the drain plug from the vessel, check it to make sure there’s no debris clogging the drain that could cause water to accumulate inside the vessel which could cause damage to the electrical system.

You could also secure the trailer to the ground with anchors to keep everything from tipping over in high winds, Wiseley said.

* For larger vessels, check the mooring lines for the proper tide because the time of day and tide the storm comes is important. Wiseley suggested doubling or tripling your lines and make sure the battery is full to keep the bilge pump running.

* If the vessel us stored on a lift, again you’ll want to remove the drain plug and check inside the bilge to be sure that’s clear and secure the vessel to the lift itself or run lines to the seawall or dock to prevent it from swinging in the wind, which could damage the lift or boat.

Wiseley said while these seem like common sense solutions, people tend not to think there’s the possibility for the Big One like Charley.

“Sometimes people don’t take hurricane preparedness seriously or give themselves enough time to prepare,” Wiseley said. “People need to watch the weather. We won’t know about this storm until (Saturday) what and where it’s going. Give yourself enough time to prepare.”

Wiseley also said that the LCSO has to take care of its own equipment, as well as the Coast Guard and other marine organizations. They all have to take their vessels out of the water when a storm hits and bring in their people for safety.

For those who decide to venture out into the water to surf or whatever during a storm, you do it at your own peril.

“You’re on your own until we can safely come and rescue you. We have our own people who have to come in for their own safety,” Wiseley said. “Don’t go out there in this stuff. We might not have the assets to come get you.”