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Another One In the Books

Just sitting here after another day of rain and wind, courtesy of Hurricane Ian. I feel very lucky it was not us that got hammered and very sad for the people that have had their lives turned upside down by Ian. What would you do if we were in the crosshairs? In particular, what would you do with your boat?
The last one that got us was Sandy. The insurance company that covers my boat will split the cost of a haul out for any named storm forecast to hit us. So, for Sandy I had her hauled along with most of the boats in the marina, all blocked up within inches of each other. I removed the canvas and any loose items. I removed the drain plug so that all the rainwater would drain out.
So, what happened? They had about four feet of water over the bulkhead. The seawater came into my boat through the drain plug. The water was high enough to fill the bilges to just under the oil pans but not enough to float the boat. Or maybe if it went higher, it would have just sunk on the blocks. After a few days with not enough gas to make the drive to the boat, I was able to get there to see for myself. I drained the seawater from the bilges and then flooded the boat again with a mix of salt-neutralizing fluid. I believe that saved my boat. My friend did not remove his drain plug and his boat did not float off the blocks and another friend left his boat in. He was able to see his boat from a vantage point across the creek and watched as the floating dock it was tied to came within a few inches of riding over the pilings holding them in place! As he watched, holding his breath, the eye passed and the wind reversed, pushing the water back out and lowering the docks and his boat with them as if nothing ever happened.
Who did the right thing? I don’t know the answer, not sure if the insurance company would deny any claim because you did not haul your boat for the storm. I guess you have to take what you feel is the correct course of action in this case.
In the meantime, we have just a few weeks left before I am required to haul my boat out. My First Mate and I want to use it a few more times at the very least, all is a beautiful time to be out there on the water. I don’t think I am alone in thinking the weather has not been the best lately, and we missed a bunch of good days on the water because of other obligations.
So, with no more complaining out on the water we go. We are still training with man-overboard drills. My student (First Mate) is getting better with every attempt at rescuing our bright orange life ring and becoming more comfortable at controlling the boat.
After she gets comfortable with that, I think we will tackle basic piloting, running a course from A to B using NavAids and then the electronics. Then docking and un-docking. No pressure! Besides having another qualified operator on board, I want to do this so we can head out on longer trips and I can get a break at the helm. Over the winter there will be plenty of time to cover some of the basics, and in the spring, we can start using that newfound knowledge during onboard operations. Lots to do.
In the meantime, I have to get ready to winterize. I try and get my work done when there is no rain in the forecast. This includes a good wash down and a rinse with a salt remover, trying to dry everything to keep mold at bay. Then the engines get flushed with another salt remover, followed by a non-toxic anti-freeze being circulated throughout the cooling system. I make sure there is no water in the freshwater system, and I also put the non-toxic anti-freeze into all hull drains and air conditioning system.
My fuel system has an additive I put in at every fill-up. So, after I top off for the season that is used again. It keeps growth out of the diesel fuel tanks. When I am done with the engine winterizing, I also shut off the fuel supply valves. I always worry about what would happen if there was a small fuel leak, would I end up with a bilge full of fuel when I open her up in the spring? Then I remove the two batteries and bring them home. I store them out in my shop and keep a battery maintainer on them, alternating between them every few weeks.
The last thing to do is lower the VHF antenna and the short aluminum mast that holds the running/ anchor light and the FLIR unit. Then the boat gets shrink-wrapped!
I already miss being on the water! Enjoy the winter, and see you next year!