Useful Information for boat owners
November to April is cyclone season in Western Australia’s north-west.
Cyclones can cause injury and loss of life, major structural damage and disrupt electricity, gas and water supplies.
If you own a boat you need to prepare an emergency plan well before a cyclone has formed and decide what you will do with your boat; know how to tie it down and where you will go if a cyclone threatens the area.
This advice applies to people who have boats moored or dry-docked.
There are four stages of alerts: Blue, Yellow, Red and All Clear.
- BLUE ALERT means prepare for dangerous weather.
- YELLOW ALERT means take action and get ready to go to shelter.
- RED ALERT means go to shelter immediately.
- ALL CLEAR means that wind and storm surge dangers have passed but you need to take care to avoid the dangers caused by damage.
Cyclone contingency plans for marine vessels on water
- If en-route maintain contact with the Harbour Coordinator.
- Plan to be secured in the boat harbour at least 24 hours before the cyclone is expected to impact.
- Follow the Harbour Coordinator’s instructions for securing vessel.
- Double all moorings. (Diagram A - Guide only)
- Secure moorings high on pilings to allow for rising waters.
- Cover all mooring lines at contact points with rubber or other materials to prevent chafing.
- Attach fenders to protect the boat from rubbing against the dock or mooring.
- Ensure batteries are charged to allow the running of electric bilge pumps. (set on auto)
- Close fuel valves and cockpit seacocks.
- Secure or remove any equipment e.g. Bimini tops, sails etc that may be affected by the cyclone from the harbour precinct.
- Apply duct tape on windows and hatches.
For information on your local harbour visit cyclone contingency plans for any other transport related information visit the Department of Transport website www.transport.wa.gov.au
- Provide details of personnel remaining on the vessel during the cyclone to the Police and Harbour Coordinator.
- Conduct final checks in, on and around the vessel.
- If not staying onboard vessel, seek safe haven.
- No action defined. Consider your own safety and listen to broadcasts.
- Confirm with the Harbour Coordinator the safety of any person/s that remained onboard.
- Follow the Harbour Coordinators instructions.
- Ensure all mooring lines have been retrieved.
- Advise Harbour Coordinator of any hazards to vessels or facilities.
Cyclone contingency plans for marine vessels on trailers
Anchor points must be installed on site
Due to their light weight construction, boats are particularly at risk to wind damage and prone to being dislodged.
One of the essential items required to secure your boat are purpose built ground anchors. These are ground points where you will secure any ropes when tying down your boat and trailer.
- If you have a boat dry-docked then you need to have purpose-built tie down anchors installed well ahead of the cyclone season. This job is likely to require professional assistance. You may also need approval from your local council. DFES recommends you seek further information from a professional contractor.
- If your boat is not in a location where there are suitable tie down anchors you will need to relocate your boat to a safer storage site such as a large shed. As an alternative, if conditions are safe to do so, tow your boat to another town away from the predicted cyclone area.
Secure your trailer boat by taking the following action when advised of a Blue Alert:
- If time permits remove boat and trailer out of cyclone path.
- Remove safety equipment, radios, sounders, bimini covers and any other valuable items that may be blown away or damaged.
- Secure the boat onto the trailer, utilising load spreaders under any straps or ropes that go over the boat and then secure the trailer onto the ground by lashing it with at least 24 millimetre rope or chains to ground anchors or the most secure object available,
- Ensure the boat is located away from trees or loose objects.
Another option is to half fill the boat with water, except for stern drive or inboard motored boats. Be cautious if boat has inbuilt fuel tank as water may enter tank and contaminate fuel furthermore, this activity may place extra weight on your trailer springs. Axle wedges should be forced into the springs to distribute the additional weight on the axle.