This Hurricane/Storm policy defines an approach to monitoring tropical cyclones and major storms, the communication of risk to club members, and preparation of the club to withstand the severe weather associated with tropical cyclones. The policy defines responsibilities for boat-owning club members, fleet captains, and club staff. The purpose of the policy is to promote safety and property protection in the following order of priority: first, to protect club property; second, to govern availability to club members of club resources for use protecting club members’ property. THIS POLICY SERVES AS NOTICE TO ALL BOAT-OWNING CLUB MEMBERS OF SPECIFIC DESIGNATED TIMES WHEN CLUB RESOURCES WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE TO INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS SO THAT THOSE CLUB RESOURCES MAY BE USED EXCLUSIVELY TO PROTECT CLUB PROPERTY. Further, this policy provides no guarantee regarding safety or property protection at any time.
The National Hurricane Center defines the hurricane season in the Atlantic basin as lasting from June 1st through November 30th. This means that, with the exception of Memorial Day weekend, the entire SBYC sailing season occurs within hurricane season. It seems prudent to clarify and formalize the club hurricane/storm policy using tools and guidelines that have been created by the National Hurricane Center and the Coast Guard for emergency planning.
Tropical Cyclone – A storm originating over tropical or subtropical waters that gains and maintains its strength from the energy in warm ocean water.
Tropical Depression – A tropical cyclone with winds of 38 mph (33 kts) or less.
Tropical Storm – A tropical cyclone with winds of 39 mph (34 kts) to 73 mph (63 kts). Note that the tropical storm actually covers the gale force through storm force winds described in the familiar Beaufort Scale. The NWS only uses the term “tropical storm” to describe conditions associated with a tropical cyclone. In the absence of a tropical cyclone, “gale” or “storm” would be used to describe conditions instead.
Hurricane – A tropical cyclone with winds of 74 mph (65 kts) or greater. There are five categories of hurricane strength, but for the purpose of this policy there is no need to distinguish among the hurricane categories.
Storm Committee – Comprised of the Commodore, Club Manager, Race Committee Chairman, House Committee Chairman and Fleet Captain with the purpose of instituting the Hurricane/Storm Policy.
Tropical Storm Watch – Tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally in the next 48 hours.
Tropical Storm Warning – Tropical storm conditions are expected within the watch area in the next 36 hours.
Hurricane Watch – Hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area, the hurricane watch is issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.
Hurricane Warning – Hurricane conditions are expected within the watch area, the hurricane warning is issued 36 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.
Club Closed – Standard condition outside of hurricane and SBYC seasons, October 19th through May 24th.
Club Lockdown Condition – Temporary condition prior to, during and after a hurricane or storm when the club is closed to prepare for, or repair the club.
All Clear – Standard in-season condition, from the Sunday prior to Memorial Day through Columbus Day. Club is open and no storms are threatening.
Preparation – Elevated strike probability for Cape Ann issued by NHC (e.g., Tropical Storm Watch). Club preparations begin, members alerted, boat evacuation plans reviewed by fleet captains.
Danger – Tropical Storm Warning issued by NHC. Boat evacuation plans executed, club preparations completed.
Club Lockdown Condition – None
All Clear Condition – At the start of the season, read and agree to abide by SBYC Hurricane Policy. Submit boat evacuation plan to their fleet captain, alert fleet captain if they will be away for five days or more.
Preparation Condition – Contact their fleet captain, confirm plans for their boat to be evacuated immediately if a Danger Condition is declared.
Danger Condition – Execute their boat evacuation plan within 24 hours. Boat owners will expeditiously remove their boats from moorings and away from the Yacht Club and T-Wharf. When this condition is in effect, boat owners and crew will perform no maintenance (e.g., washing the bottom) when removing boats.
Club Lockdown Condition – None
All Clear Condition – At the start of the season, read and agree to abide by SBYC Hurricane Policy. Receive boat evacuation plans from fleet members, update fleet member contact information, create an evacuation plan for their own boat, ensure contingency plans are in place for fleet members who are away from the area for five days or more.
Preparation Condition – Contact fleet members to confirm plans for their boat to be evacuated immediately if a Danger Condition is declared. Alert Club Fleet Captain if any fleet member cannot be reached.
Danger Condition – Execute their boat evacuation plan within 24 hours. Help arrange for assistance to fleet members who need help executing their plans.
Club Lockdown Condition – Update readiness condition on club website home page.
All Clear Condition – Update readiness condition on club website home page. Monitor NHC reports of tropical cyclones formation and Strike Probability maps. If the map shows an elevated strike probability for Cape Ann, Club Manager declares a Preparation Condition.
Preparation Condition – Club Manager begins preparations to protect club property that have minimal impact on normal operations, alerts volunteers and the membership. Sailing Program Director alerts students and makes arrangements for evacuation of sailing program dinghies. If a tropical storm warning is issued by the NHC, Club Manager declares a Danger Condition.
Danger Condition – Club Manager contacts volunteers and the membership, evacuates club boats, and completes club preparations. Contact the Rockport Police Department to advise of plans and request parking on T Wharf for boats/trailers in transition. Sailing Program Director oversees evacuation of sailing program dinghies. When the storm passes, the Club Manager performs a walkthrough of the club premises with House Committee Chairman, Race Committee Chairman, and the Club Fleet Captain to inspect premises, declare Club Lockdown Condition, and schedule All Clear declaration. Upon All Clear declaration by the Storm Committee, if racing fleets are expected to return, the Club Manager and fleet captains schedule staggered fleet times for returning boats.
During a Danger Condition, the dock is reserved for the protection of club property only. Therefore, no racing boats or winter storage boats are allowed on the dock when a Danger Condition is in effect. Drysailing fleet captains are responsible for removing absentee fleet member’s boats from the dock. Any racing or winter storage boats left on the dock when a Danger Condition is in effect will be ineligible for dock space until after the next racing or storage season. From this day forward, only current winter storage boats which are on cradles will be exempt from this policy. Any new winter storage boats, and current winter storage boats on trailers will have to be evacuated during a Danger Condition.
The five readiness conditions will be instituted by the Storm Committee. The panel will use information gathered from the National Weather Service to determine which readiness condition to enact during storms. Once a Danger Condition has been instituted by the panel, club members will have 24 hours to evacuate their boats via the Sandy Bay Yacht Club. After 24 hours has passed the club will be in Locked Down condition for final preparations to club property only. Any time during these final 24 hours the club may be locked down due to unsafe conditions by the Storm Committee. We strongly recommend removing property during the Preparation Condition to ensure the safety of your belongings.