Ready or not, here comes the hurricane season

Water Ways
Honolulu Star Bulletin 05/25/02)
By Ray Pendleton

In recognition of Hurricane Awareness Week, I have three questions for you: Do you own a boat? Do you have a copy of the Hawaii Boater's Hurricane Safety Manual? Have you followed its instructions?

If you answered yes to all three questions, then read no more. You are probably as ready as you can be if another Iwa or Iniki comes our way.

On the other hand, if you only answered yes to the first question, I believe reading this column a bit further could be to your advantage.

Hawaii's hurricane season -- June through November -- is predicted to be slightly more hazardous this year due to a moderate El Nino condition in the eastern Pacific.

Such a condition translates to warmer sea temperatures and an increase in tropical cyclone activity, that is, more tropical depressions, storms and hurricanes.

Also, if the local damage-by-the-decade rumors have any validity, another hurricane hit might be possible this year (especially if its name begins with an "I") as it's been 10 years since Iniki struck our state and 20 years since Iwa.

For you boat owners, preparing for such an eventuality should be high on your list of priorities.

Not only can you protect your valuable assets, but you may also reduce your liabilities for damage your boats might cause others.

Recognizing the high risks boaters face from hurricane-strength winds and storm surges, the state's Department of Land and Natural Resources and the University of Hawaii's Sea Grant Program created a hurricane safety manual in 1998.

The manual is available for free at any state harbor master's office and although it's just 32 pages long, it is jammed with valuable information on why and how boat owners in Hawaii should prepare for the devastating effects of hurricanes.

After giving readers the general facts about the nature of hurricanes and their threat to boats and marinas, it then goes on to provide measures every boat owner should take, whether your vessel is moored at a dock, offshore or on a trailer.

Necessary Planning for surviving a hurricane's destructive force begins long before the threat materializes, the manual points out.

Boat owners need to create their own personal action plans and be prepared to carry them out when the time comes to do so.

To assist you in developing your action plan, the manual has a two-page worksheet section where all of the needed information can be filled in.

It is recommended that copies of the worksheet be made and distributed to anyone who might take responsibility for your vessel in the event you are unable to do so.

As any meteorologist or emergency manager will tell you, it's not a matter of if, just when the next hurricane will zero in on Hawaii.

And, when it's so simple to be prepared, to gamble doesn't seem worth the time saved.

So now, while there is still time to make plans unpressured by an impending disaster, shouldn't you get your copy of the Hawaii Boater's Hurricane Safety Manual so you can begin making preparations?

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