Preparing for a Tsunami

In the wake of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, California sailors had roughly 12 hours before they would experience any resulting effects of the wave. In Japan, securing a boat was anyone’s last concern, but for sailors on the West Coast, there was a window of time in which they could make some basic precautions. The question was, how do you even begin?SAIL asked BoatUS
Author:
Publish date:
Updated on

In the wake of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, California sailors had roughly 12 hours before they would experience any resulting effects of the wave. In Japan, securing a boat was anyone’s last concern, but for sailors on the West Coast, there was a window of time in which they could make some basic precautions. The question was, how do you even begin?

SAIL asked BoatUS technical director Bob Adriance how he would advise sailors in this situation. Here are his thoughts.

tsunami.int

SAIL: From videos of the tsunami hitting California shores, the water seems unpredictable. Do you recommend keeping your boat on a mooring, or at the dock?

Bob Adriance: “Several BoatUS members took their boats out of Santa Cruz harbor prior to the tsunami's arrival and put them on Coast Guard moorings. All survived without a scratch.”

SAIL: That can’t be said for the boats in the harbor. News reports stated that Santa Cruz harbor alone had $15 million in damages. Is there any way to protect your boat if you do have to leave it at your slip?

BA: “Putting the boat in the center of the slip and adding extra lines might help to mitigate damage. I also noticed that boats positioned to meet the wave bow-on fared better than boats that took the waves on their beams. Boats that had their sterns to the waves got yanked off their mooring lines.”

SAIL: What about just heading out to sea?

BA: “I read that several Japanese fishing boats headed out to sea prior to the tsunami and rode up and over the wave with no damage. This was also true of small boats that were offshore in the Indonesian tsunami. The deeper the water, the less daunting (and destructive) the wave. Even in a small boat, that might be preferable to remaining in a house or automobile anywhere near the coast.”

Tales of the Japanese tsunami and the damage that followed have devastated the newswire since the disaster struck on March 11. While we cannot reverse the damage inflicted upon Japanese towns and harbors, learning how to prepare our own boats for residual effects of this and other natural disasters can help make us more prudent sailors.

Video of the tsunami rolling into Catalina Harbor:

Related

anchor

Know how: Ground Tackle

Your ground tackle is like a relationship—the more you care for it, the longer it will last. So, how do you enhance the relationship? First up, think of the accommodations—a damp, salt-rich, often warm environment, just the kind of thing to encourage corrosion. What can be done? ...read more

DSC_7522

Boat Review: Beneteau Oceanis 46.1

The Beneteau sailboat line has long represented a kind of continuum, both in terms of the many models the company is offering at any given moment and over time. This does not, however, in any way diminish the quality of its individual boats. Just the opposite. Case in point: the ...read more

shutterstock_1016585167

Cruising: Memories Made by People You Meet

Steve greeted my boyfriend, Phillip, and me as soon as we tied Plaintiff’s Rest, our 1985 Niagara 35, up to his dock on one of the Berry Islands in the Bahamas. He was tall, cheerful and clad in a hodge-podge of clothes one might wear to paint a house: oversized, grungy and old. ...read more

_98A7540

Cruising: Dogs Afloat

We dog owners understand the general expectations of ourselves in public places, like picking up after Fido and keeping him on a leash. There are, however, certain places where additional unspoken rules or expectations may apply—as in harbors or marinas. If you sail with your ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com Log the glass  A week ago I set out after breakfast on a 50-mile passage. The day’s forecast via the internet was for 14-18 knots. It never happened, and I spent the entire trip adjusting my genoa ...read more

African-Batik-Green-hires

Gear: The Wonderbag

A Wondrous Bag Cruising sailors are always on the lookout for energy-efficient ways to prepare food, so this new take on the slow-cooker principle should prove popular. The Wonderbag is an insulated jacket that keeps food hot (or cold) for many hours and, according to the ...read more