Monday, 21 September 2020 14:45

Yacht Clubs Hurricane Preparation Plans

With Hurricane season upon us, Sail Nova Scotia connected with yacht clubs in the province to share their Hurricane Preparation Plans. Here are some of them.

Armdale Yacht Club

Since 2003 we have learned to not take the threat of hurricanes lightly. With this in mind the Committee of Management would like to remind Members of their responsibilities to prepare their boats for severe weather.

This plan attempts to make our Club as ready as possible to withstand the force posed by hurricane winds and surge. All action taken has the over-riding priority of protecting the Armdale Yacht Club Marina and Infrastructure. In doing so, we also offer protection to the Member’s boats. Getting as much windage/weight off the marina as possible protects the marina, the boats taken off the marina and those boats remaining on the marina.

Pre- and post-hurricane, the area in front of the Yard Shop will be a designated a muster area for all Staff and Members to gather. All hurricane supplies such as ropes, pumps and chains, will be located at the Yard Shop.

Moving onto marinas should only be done in pairs and wearing a PDF (Personal Floatation Device).
Staff will not be on site if conditions are unsafe.
Marina Sweep Chain Adjustments: Staff will be responsible for coordinating and completing the adjustments of marina sweep chains prior to the arrival of a hurricane. This work will also include the installation of additional anchor blocks and chains on the most exposed Marinas. The Marine Services Manager will look for additional volunteer help during this work to ensure everything is completed prior to the arrival of the storm.
PROTECTION AGAINST SURGE - The following is a list of actions that will reduce the risk of surge damage:
 Loosening the marina anchor chains is a major activity
 Keep boats on land as far back as possible from the waterfront
 Keep loose boats, zodiacs, ladders, wood, etc. back from water’s edge
 Keep cars parked back from Waterfront
 Turn off marina power
 Secure the Sailing Training equipment and move dollies and boats back beyond surge height

PROTECTION AGAINST WIND DAMAGE - The following will reduce wind damage:
 Move all dinghy boats to high ground and secure them
 Remove tables and chairs from floating docks and club deck
 Secure all picnic tables and chairs
 Pick up any loose debris that might become a missile in high winds

1. Triple up all lines.
2. Remove self-furling sails (best) or tie lines around furlers to prevent accidental unfurling (minimum).
3. Run a line from your outboard side (side not along the finger) to the main trunk.
4. Remove all canopies or fix a net over your entire canopy so as to prevent the wind from catching a loose corner.
5. Put anything that will blow in the wind below decks.
6. Fix as much fendering as possible to protect your boat.
7. Check your bridles and add lines if at a mooring.
8. Consider lengthening your mooring bridle by 5 feet if a large surge is expected.
9. Do NOT plan to stay with your boat either alongside your slip or on the mooring.
10. Clean out your refrigerators and freezers in case power is cut off or shut off.
11. Work with your neighbour to secure your boats – you may be able to work out an arrangement to cross lines over each
other’s boats thereby keeping your boat from crashing into the finger.
12. If there are open marina’s available on A, B and C Docks which have greater protection (i.e. off outside Docks F, G, and H),
consider requesting a more protected slip. Large boats farthest out from shore will be given priority on relocation requests.
13. If your boat is on land, ensure that cradles, ladders and any material that belongs to you on land is checked and properly
secured. Point 6 applies to you as well. If your boat is tarped, tie it down with a net or lots of rope.
14. Consider the use of Line Snubbers to absorb the shock of wind load on lines and cleats, especially if you are on F, G and H Docks.

Ben Eoin Yacht Club


The BEYC Hurricane Plan will be activated by the General Manager when there is a forecast for sustained winds of 60 Kts or more in the BEYC area. During hurricane passage the wind direction will change as the winds blow counter-clockwise, so only wind velocity will be taken into account when deciding whether to act or not. An important tenet of the plan is to act at the correct time: i.e. as late as possible to prevent a lot of work for nothing, but early enough to give sufficient time to get all the required work done to a high standard.


All actions taken have the over-riding object of protecting the BEYC marina and infrastructure. The prioritized actions also provide some protection to member’s boats. However, mandatory moving of boats is predicated on what is best for the marina, not for the individual members or their boats. Getting as much windage and weight off the marina as possible protects the marina, the boats taken off the marina and those boats remaining on the marina.


The day the Hurricane is forecast to reach Ben Eoin is H-day, and the following is the broad outline of the plan timeline:

H minus 5 days (H-5): Commence communication of the hurricane warnings and individual measures to be taken. Commence voluntary boat haul-outs. Yard staff prepare for following days' measures (e.g. staging cradles, marking chains, assembling tools for chain gang, etc). Set up a Hurricane Warning Board in the clubhouse for anyone who does not have e-mail.

H minus 4: Continue communication and voluntary boat haul-outs. Confirm availability of hurricane response teams. Plan duty watches for H-Day. Confirm volunteers for the Chain Gang. Commence daily meetings of selected members of the Management Committee (MC).

H minus 3: Continue voluntary boat haul-outs and communications on hurricane progress. Complete Watch Plan and confirm all volunteers available. MC meeting.

H minus 2: Haul out boats that are mandatory moves off the marina, or boats proceed to assigned moorings (see Mandatory Move List). Continue communication updates. MC Meets. Volunteer teams meet for briefing on chain adjustment.

H minus 1: Complete hauling boats that are mandatory moves off the marina. AT LOW TIDE volunteer teams slacken marina anchor chains. Do final securing of all yard equipment. Continue communications updates. MC Meets. Move boats on E-Dock to more protected slips.

H Day: Activate duty watches. Cut power and water to the marina as required.

H plus 1 and beyond: Return BEYC to pre-hurricane status. Chain Adjustment Teams reposition dock chains. Re-launch boats with mandatory boats having priority.


Annex A is a list of boats that are assessed to have the greatest windage and present the greatest load and the greatest threat to the marina system and their owners. These boats are subject to mandatory moves in order to get as much weight off the marina as possible. They will have to be hauled out of the water at the owner’s expense. This list is to be updated regularly with new members joining the Club and again whenever necessary.


Boats not on the Mandatory List, but of significant size, will be taken out of the water on a first come, first served basis during H-5 to H-3 to get as much weight off the marina as possible. These voluntary lifts are at the owner’s expense.


Two types of volunteer teams will be required:

Chain Adjustment Teams ('Chain Gang'): Seven teams of three volunteers each are required to slacken chains on the marina, one for each dock (A, B, C, D, E1, E2, and F). The estimated time to complete this work is four hours. If there are not sufficient volunteers for seven teams, it will take longer. Annex B lists the volunteers and it will be published by email starting on H - 4. New volunteers may call the office or send an e-mail to add their names to the list. Chains will have to be adjusted at low tide to ensure there is minimum strain on the chains.

Watch-Standing Teams: Three watch teams of five volunteers each will cover a 12-hour period in four hour watches. These watch teams can do another cycle, if needed, to cover a 24-hour period. These teams will conduct rounds of the yard and marina and respond to any requirements, e.g. securing loosened gear. They can also alert others if more manpower is required. These teams will have access to all members' phone numbers, emergency phone numbers, and as much safety equipment as possible. They may adjust boat lines or fenders, if required, but should only go onto the docks in groups of two or more and wear PFD's in rough water conditions.



The following is a list of actions that will reduce the risk of storm surge damage:

-Loosening the marina anchor chains is a major priority.

-Keep boats on land as far back as possible from the waterfront.

-Keep loose boats, zodiacs, ladders, wood, etc back from the water’s edge.

-Keep cars parked back from the waterfront.

-Turn off marina power.

-Secure the Junior Sailing Building contents, keeping equipment off the floor, and moving the boats and dollies back beyond the surge height.

-Secure the Fuel Shed, keeping equipment off the floor.

-Move wheelbarrows to the garage.


The following is a list of actions that will reduce wind damage:

-Secure wheelbarrows in the garage.

-Move all dinghies to high ground and secure them.

-Remove umbrellas from picnic tables and secure them in the garage.

-Secure all picnic tables and chairs.

-Lash down masts on the mast rack.

-Pick up any loose debris that might become a missile in high winds.

Shearwater Yacht Club
Club Storm Procedures

"Life always comes before property."

One of the most dangerous mistakes a skipper can make is to go onto the marina during bad weather. There is little, if anything, a skipper can do to save a boat in strong winds and surging tides. If this is necessary, it should only be done with the approval of the person directing the storm watch.

Club Storm Watches

When environment Canada issues a weather alert, the Vice Commodore will evaluate and initiate storm procedures, as appropriate. If severe weather, including a hurricane, is anticipated, someone will be appointed to organize the storm preparation effort and manage the activities and club response regarding safety and action during the event. Storm warnings and preparation activities appropriate to the timing and magnitude of the storm will be communicated to the membership by email. Members will meet at SYC and inspect all dock lines and fenders. A shift system may be set up to monitor the facility during the storm.

Boat Preparation

To secure your boat, don’t lead numerous lines to a single cleat. Set up your dock lines so they can be adjusted from the dock. Leave spare lines in the cockpit of your boat for emergency use. Double up all mooring lines and ensure adequate chafe protection. Line lengths should be enough to take care of excessive high water. Ensure that the bow cannot be pulled forward to overhang the jetty.

Take off all loose gear that will create windage such as canvas covers, Bimini tops, spray dodgers, outriggers, antennas, running rigging, booms, life rings, dinghies, and portable davits. Personal belongings, electronics and other valuable loose gear should be taken home for safekeeping. If it becomes necessary to pump out a boat, flotsam can plug a pump.

Remove all spare oils and propane canisters. Top up the battery bank so it is
available for the bilge pump. Close appropriate through hull valves and fuel lines.

Sails, such as furling jibs and mainsails, also create a lot of windage, especially when they come unfurled, and should never be left on deck in a storm if there is time to remove them. Depending on the boat, you may consider unstepping your mast.

After the Storm Passes
Check your boat as soon as possible when the storm passes. Assist others in need.

Shelburne Harbour Yacht Club

Our process with hurricanes is as follows: 
We empty the docks whenever sustained winds are forecast to exceed 30 knots or gusts over 50 knots. Depending on direction, we might only empty parts of the marina furthest from the leeward protection at the Rear Commodore’s discretion. 

For "named storms," all slips are emptied. Many slip holders have private moorings in more protected coves nearby. Club moorings may be used by slip holders at their own risk. or they can tie up behind the Town of Shelburne commercial wharf. All of these options are entirely at the owners risk.