Is this the one we’ve all been wondering about, the storm to end all storms that could ruin lives and decimate the boating community? No, but being safe is better than the alternative.

Hurricane Idalia is going to be bad – really bad- for the folks on the upper west coast of Florida and for most of the southeastern portion of the East Coast. The cyclone is expected to hit Florida as a major hurricane and push off the coast somewhere between Hatteras and Morehead City as a strong tropical storm. In Hampton Roads, the storm on Thursday is forecast to bring heavy rains, high winds and very high water during high tides.

So why worry? Well, that answer is simple. Too many folks in this region have become complacent about Hurricanes. But trust me and the forecasters at the National Hurricane Center, we’re overdo.

That means Idalia is going to be a good opportunity to prepare for the day when the really big one finally arrives. Especially if you own a boat.

If you have availability at our storage facility, take advantage of it. If you can trailer your boat to higher ground, do so. If you have to leave your boat in the water, make sure the batteries are in working order to power the pumps that will help keep the vessel floating. And make sure tie-up lines are loose enough to handle the higher waters. Check your boating insurance or call the company and make sure you are complying with the rules to recover anything lost.

No, Idalia isn’t likely to be the one we fear, but it’s going to provide a good practice run to prepare. You should already know what to do at home, but the boat is an expensive recreational thing you have to go to extra lengths to protect.

And keep in mind, any slight shift to the west will bring worse conditions to our area. So don’t take any chances. Be safe, take care of friends and loved ones and spend a little time making sure that boat is going to survive.

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