Captain's Tips

Hurricane Preparation Guide: Brought to You by Golden Boat Lifts

By
Alexa
Zizzi
Snook Bight Marina | Courtesy of Gorman Marine Construction

When Category 4 Hurricane Ian made landfall in 2022, marinas across the Caribbean Sea to the Gulf Coast faced millions of dollars in damages forcing properties to close and rebuild from square one. Many marinas managed to recover quickly while others spent the past two years restoring and upgrading systems with dependable, hurricane-rated equipment. 

Southwestern Florida took a huge hit from the storm, impacting marina destinations across the coast. After complete destruction, Snook Bight Marina in Fort Myers Beach worked with Golden Marine Systems and RJ Gorman Marine Construction to reopen the facility in record time. The marina’s new Golden 850 Series aluminum docks are crafted with premium marine-grade structure and stainless-steel hardware for durability and resistance. The track system allows for adjustable cleats, pile guides and top-notch finger piers.

“When it comes to hurricane survivability, it certainly is the dock system and its ability to perform in a wind-wave situation. Our docks roll and articulate with wind and wave, which prevents binding and breaking apart,” says Michael Shanley, president of Golden Marine Systems. “Another thing that attributes to a dock surviving is the pile system — piles have to be robust, properly embedded and they have to have a sufficient top elevation.” 

One of the main issues that happens in a storm and causes dock systems to fail is piles that are not high enough. When marinas face a storm surge, docks simply float above the pile system and float away leading to a domino effect of surrounding damage. Golden’s intricate dock system and pile design are key factors to hurricane survival.

Marina Preparation for Hurricane Season 

  • Preparation plan before hurricane season: Train your staff on marina readiness preparation and safe storage, inform clients of your plan, and confirm all boater and property insurance plans are sufficient and up to date.
  • Prior to the storm: Make sure all equipment is properly stored away such as sensitive documents or electronics. Sometimes it’s best to temporarily secure valuables inland. Remove potential hazards and clear debris including equipment, trash and vegetation.
  • During the storm: Close all facilities and operations. It’s best to keep staff and everyone off-site and monitor the storm from a safe place if you have access to electricity. Prioritizing the safety of staff and customers is most important.

Boater Preparation for Hurricane Season

The Day After Hurricane Ian | Courtesy of Golden Boat Lifts
  • Make sure all loose material and equipment is safely stored away in dock boxes or in secure upland areas.  
  • Look for posts, pilings, dock cleats or anything sturdy that could be used to secure dock lines. Older-style wood and concrete pilings pose risks of snapping in two and causing damage. Make sure all cleats and pile guides are tight. Lines should also measure at a large diameter to resist chafing and excessive stretching.
  • Ensure all electricity and water is shut off or isolated and remove or secure all electronics.
  • Properly tie sturdy lines that are not old or frayed, or depending on the storm level; relocate vessels to a safe area.
  • Prepare for power outages. Develop contingency plans for outages including backup generators and emergency lighting. Ensure essential equipment remains operational during power loss. 
  • Stay informed and flexible. Remain vigilant throughout hurricane season and adjust plans based on evolving weather conditions and guidance from authorities. 

Golden Boat Lifts and Golden Marine Systems have been manufacturing and installing marine equipment for more than 30 years, providing skilled work and top-notch facilities across the globe. They are not only committed to safe, reliable and eco-friendly construction, but they are dedicated to exceptional service and provide operator’s agreements that ensure training and step-by-step instructions for each installment. Stay tuned for updates at goldenboatlifts.com and goldenmarinesystems.com 

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