July 2013

Flood safety factors

Protect your boat during a flood

Flood safety factors

Flooding caused by heavy rains can damage your boat. Follow these tips to prepare for these emergencies:

  • Shut off all electricity before moving onto the docks.
  • When wading onto fixed docks, move slowly and slide your feet to make sure that dock boards haven’t come loose and floated away or have been pulled up by mooring lines.
  • Watch out for snakes, spiders and animals in floodwaters.
  • Stay clear of floating debris, such as trees and dock boxes.
  • Turn off the shore power breakers at your dock and disconnect the cord from your vessel. If vessels were tied to dock cleats properly, reach down into the water, feel the lines and loosen them. (Be careful as they are under tremendous stress.)
  • If the lines weren’t tied properly, cut the lines and retie them.
  • When retying your lines, leave enough slack, so the line doesn’t immediately tighten up with the rising water.
  • Conduct periodic checks as the water level goes up or down, and loosen or tighten lines as necessary.
  • Be vigilant about checking the water levels. If your floating dock posts are 33 feet, and the water rises 35 feet, the whole dock and all the moored vessels can float away.
  • Do not move your vessel into the river as the currents will be very fast; the rivers will also be loaded with floating and submerged dangers.
  • After the flood recedes and water levels are back to normal, clean and disinfect your lines, the contents of your dock box (if under water) and your docks. Floodwater can contain chemicals and bacteria, so disinfect and make dock repairs as needed.
  • Wait at least a couple of weeks before venturing out on the river after a major flood.




Ship's Store

Mastering Marlinespike

Tugboat hitch

You use the tugboat hitch, or bitt hitch, to secure the ends of the tow line to the boats for towing. It holds well, won’t jam, and can be untied or released under load in an emergency.


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