Maryland marinas prepare for Hurricane Joaquin

Posted at 4:17 PM, Sep 30, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-30 16:17:28-04

Though Hurricane Joaquin’s path is still uncertain, Maryland marinas are preparing for a potentially dangerous storm.

At Pleasure Cove Marina in Pasadena, the phone was ringing non-stop Wednesday, said Ryan Young, a service writer at the marina.

He was advising customers to start hauling their vessels out of the water. Pleasure Cove also has an indoor storage facility, which can hold boats up to 60 feet long.

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“Protect your asset early,” Young said. “Don’t try to wait to see what the storm is going to do.”

He’s been through rough storms before. When Tropical Storm Isabel flooded the region in 2003, Young was working at a different marina. 

“We rode it out,” he said. “We had people on site until the storm ended.”

If you don’t haul your boat out, Young said, make sure you keep an eye on it while maintaining a safe distance from any storm surge.

Tonja Bristow, office manager at Chesapeake Harbour Marina in Annapolis, said the phone lines had been similarly busy Wednesday.

Marina officials sent out an email to boat owners giving them a heads up on the forecast. The marina has 213 slips, with 195 boats in them right now. Some of the customers have already begun to inquire about haul outs, Bristow said.

“The phones are just going crazy,” said Bristow, who advised boat owners to secure any canvas and loose parts, and double up on their lines.

“We’re hoping it will go west,” she said of the storm’s path. “We’re keeping our fingers crossed.”

Jeff Andrews, general manager of Tidewater Marina in Havre de Grace, said storm preparations are complicated by the fact that there is already wind and rain in the forecast.

Typically, the weather is calmer in the days leading up to a storm, so it’s easier to get things done, Andrews said.

Marina workers are in the process of moving boats off moorings and monitoring the National Hurricane Service’s updates carefully. It’s still early, he added.

Andrews also advised boat owners to check with their insurance companies in advance of the storm, because they might pay for the vessels to be hauled out.

Ben Ayres, Inner Harbor Marina director, said the marina’s floating docks have one main advantage—they’ll rise with the storm surge.

Still, he’s advising boat owners to tie extra lines on their vessels, and make sure their fenders are in good shape.

“Nobody is panicking yet,” Ayres said. “Maybe tomorrow.” 

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