For every year, there is a pre-approved list of names for tropical storms and hurricanes. These lists have been generated by the National Hurricane Center since 1953. At first, the lists consisted of only female names; however, since 1979, the lists alternate between male and female.

Hurricanes are named alphabetically from the list in chronological order. Thus the first tropical storm or hurricane of the year has a name that begins with "A" and the second is given the name that begins with "B." The lists contain names that begin from A to W, but exclude names that begin with a "Q" or "U."

There are six lists that continue to rotate. The lists only change when there is a hurricane that is so devastating, the name is retired and another name replaces it.

2015 Hurricane Names -
Ana, Bill, Claudette, Danny, Erika, Fred, Grace, Henri, Ida, Joaquin, Kate, Larry, Mindy, Nicholas, Odette, Peter, Rose, Sam, Teresa, Victor, Wanda

2014 Hurricane Names -
Arthur, Bertha, Cristobal, Dolly, Edouard, Fay, Gonzalo, Hanna, Isaias, Josephine, Kyle, Laura, Marco, Nana, Omar, Paulette, Rene, Sally, Teddy, Vicky, Wilfred

2013 Hurricane Names -
Andrea, Barry, Chantal, Dorian, Erin, Fernand, Gabrielle, Humberto, Ingrid, Jerry, Karen, Lorenzo, Melissa, Nestor, Olga, Pablo, Rebekah, Sebastien, Tanya, Van, Wendy

2012 Hurricane Names -
Alberto, Beryl, Chris, Debby, Ernesto, Florence, Gordon, Helene, Isaac, Joyce, Kirk, Leslie, Michael, Nadine, Oscar, Patty, Rafael, Sandy, Tony, Valerie, William

2011 Hurricane Names -
Arlene, Bret, Cindy, Don, Emily, Franklin, Gert, Harvey, Irene,
Jose, Katia, Lee, Maria, Nate, Ophelia, Philippe, Rina, Sean,
Tammy, Vince, Whitney

2010 Hurricane Names -
Alex, Bonnie, Colin, Danielle, Earl, Fiona, Gaston,
Hermine, Igor, Julia, Karl, Lisa, Matthew, Nicole,
Otto, Paula, Richard, Shary, Tomas, Virginie, Walter

2009 Hurricane Names -
Ana, Bill, Claudette, Danny, Erika, Fred, Grace, HenriIda, Joaquin, Kate, Larry, Mindy, Nicholas, Odette, Peter, Rose, Sam, Teresa, Victor, Wanda

2008 Hurricane Names -
Arthur, Bertha, Cristobal, Dolly, Edouard, Fay, Gustav, Hanna, Ike, Josephine, Kyle, Laura, Marco, Nana, Omar, Paloma, Rene, Sally, Teddy, Vicky, Wilfred.

Moorings Versus Docks

The estimate of the survival rate of boats at anchor is between 5-10%, depending on location. That really says it all as far as anchoring is concerned. There are simply too many unknown factors involved for mooring to be reliable. The use of anchors for secondary holding, or to keep boats away from docks is fine, but dependence on anchors during a hurricane almost invariably fails. Certainly there are exceptions to this, but unless you have a great deal of certainty about the holding ground and other conditions, anchoring is a poor option.

Boats Ashore

Beware that boats ashore do not fare well because they're up high and offer too much wind resistance. They stand about a 90% chance of being blown over. Sailboats stand no chance of remaining upright.

Trailer Boats

By far, the best option for trailer boats is to get them off the trailer and on the ground with the bow facing east. Otherwise, the wind will get under the hull and lift it right off, usually flipping it over. On average, powerful, fast-moving storms only dump about 5-6" of rain so you can put some water in the hull to weight it down without worrying too much that it will fill up. In any case, fresh water damage is better than it being blown around.

                                                            The Winds

Relative to the eye, there are three major wind zones in a hurricane, north, center and south. The north zone will experience winds mainly from the east. In the central zone, the eye, the winds can be from all directions. In the south, the worst winds will be westerly, causing a low, rather than high water problem. The north zone of a hurricane usually has winds of longest duration.

Use the National Hurricane Center's strike probability estimates to estimate which side of the storm you're likely to be on. This will give you a better idea what to expect, and be better able to prepare. If you're on the south side, you don't have to worry about storm surge, but the opposite effect, low water. Most boats wrecked on the south side of the storm resulted from cleats pulling out and lines parting because there was insufficient slack to allow for extreme low water. If the storms course is fairly constant, you can prepare for this. If not, the best you can do is attempt to choose a happy medium.

Remember that the water level difference from extreme highs and lows can easily be 20' and you can't prepare for both. If you prepare for high water and end up on the south side, your best efforts will be defeated. However, if you live close to your boat, you may get a 6-8 hour window of opportunity to make adjustments. If your boat will be on the north side, it will usually become fairly obvious with adequate time to prepare for extreme high water.

Engine Protection

Some yachts sank because the boats heeled over so far that the hull side ventilators went underwater. But also remember that 150 MPH winds eliminate any distinction between sea and sky. Wind-driven water is going to go right into the engine room vents. If the engine room hull side vents are small enough, they can be taped up with duct tape. If the vent is larger, use a thin piece of plywood and screw it directly into the vent cowl or even the hull side if that's all that is available, and then tape over the edges.

Don't forget that on the reverse side of the storm, the boat may be hit by winds from astern. If you don't want to take the chance of water being driven up the exhaust and into your engines, then plugging the pipes is the thing to do. Sailboats and gas engine boats can use simple wood plugs. Sail boat owners absolutely should plug their exhaust lines and close the sea water intake sea cocks. For larger diesel exhausts, the inflatable balls available at most marine stores are the best solution.


It should go without saying that all external electronics should be removed. That includes those mounted in covered boxes.  Again, don't hesitate to cut wires and cables for removal. The cost of reinstallation is far less than having to replace costly electronics. If electronics inside boxes cannot be removed, completely tape around the cabinet doors with duct tape to help keep water out. Tape tightly over all instrument faces that can't be removed, as well as switches and the like.

Windows & Hatches

 It's recommend that all windows be locked and taped with duct tape. Tape all joints and seams on both sliding and fixed window glass on the outside. If you have window covers, leave them in place; they often help. Also tape around all hatch covers and entrance doors.

Securing the Interior 

 The motion of the boat can get violent, so its wise to take the same precautions on the interior. For example, in the galley clear out all elevated cabinets where doors will open and contents spill out. Even tape probably won't hold the doors shut. Put breakables in boxes down low. Remove all heavy objects that will force doors open during extreme rolling. Anything loose like televisions, bric-a-brac, lamps and the like should be secured on the sole. Prepare for some serious water leaks. Slide furniture away from windows. Raise venetian blinds and take down drapes; they'll get wet for sure and if a window breaks, they'll cause even more damage. Take up all carpets in lower quarters and place on berths. Roll back or take up carpet in way of exterior doors, then duct tape the door jambs when leaving the boat to keep wind driven water out.

Mattresses on berths in forward cabins in way of port holes and hatches should be wedged up on end so that leaking won't soak them. Strip, pillows, sheets and spreads and store in a safer place.

Don't forget the refrigerator. Clean out all perishables and glass bottles that will slide around and break. Make sure the door is firmly latched. If you have an AC/DC reefer, make sure that is turned OFF so that it won't drain the batteries.

Find the sea cocks for the heads and close them. Close or plug all sink drains. Shut off all other sea cocks except for the main engines.

Disconnect and stow shore power cords away. Electrical power will be lost anyway and leaving it plugged in will only result in the loss of the cord. Turn off all DC circuit breakers except the main and bilge pumps. Then make sure that all pumps are working and the batteries are fully charged.

Sail Boats:

Owners often strip off all sails and canvass and stuff it all down below. Unfortunately, if a boat fills partly up with water, this creates a terrible problem getting these materials out of a flooded cabin. If you can, get all loose sails off the boat. If you take the furling genoa down, again, don't stuff it in the cabin. Tie it to a tree or something, or take it home. The cabin areas should be kept as free as possible to tend to an emergency if necessary.

Imagine hosing down the interior of your boat and then letting it sit for a couple days. That's what the inside of your boat is likely to look like when you finally get to it, many days later. Your boat will leak in ways you never imagined possible. All that stuff packed into lockers needs to be removed. The easiest way to deal with it is to stow it all in heavy trash bags and seal the ends tight. Then stow them tightly in a high corner somewhere.

Remove vent cowls and heavily tape over the openings.

Take all the bunk and dinette cushions, stand them edgewise and wedge them in place such as around the dinette or a quarter berth.

Close all sink and head sea cocks. Check to be sure that cockpit scuppers are clear. Loch the wheel or lash tiller in the centered position, not to one side. The Bimini top should be removed from the boat, frame and all. Don't try to lash it down because the wind will tear it free. Lash it down ashore. Remove all equipment attached to the lifelines or pulpits.

Duct tape over all windows, ports and hatches around the base. When leaving the boat, tape over the companionway hatch joints.

Express Cruisers

If you have an open cockpit express cruiser, take down the top frame because you'll loose it anyway; if the frame gets loose it will do great damage. Dismantle the top, remove the cover, and stow the frame on the cockpit deck. If you have a canvass instrument cover, it won't help. Instead cover instruments and switches with duct tape, applying in a shingling fashion. Just remember to get it off soon after the storm. Remove electronics and tape up any open holes in the dash. Tape all switches and the ends of the cable connectors. If you have a generator, cover it with plastic. Next, duct tape the gaps of all hatches in the cockpit deck. This will help prevent water from getting in the engines, particularly the generator. Then, make sure the deck scuppers are clear. Tightly lash fixed, folding swim ladders. Remove all antennas, don't just fold them down. If there are electric panels in the cockpit, tape around the doors. Remove all loose deck equipment such as fender racks, life rafts and anchors. Before leaving the boat, tape over the companionway door jamb. If you have a gas boat, we recommend that you shut off the fuel valves to all engines, especially the valve at the tanks.


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