This March the Eastern coast of Australia was in preparation mode as an aggressive tropical low formed off the Queensland coast. By late March the low was officially named Cyclone Debbie and the state waited in anticipation for where it would hit first.
It was not long to wait for the Queenslanders as by the 28th of the month Debbie crossed the coast, taking the brunt of her fury out on the area surrounding Airlie Beach. Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie was not in a hurry and along with flooding, sadly 12 people lost their lives in Australia due to this whirlwind of fatal weather.
This has been the deadliest cyclone to strike Australia since Cyclone Tracy in 1974.
The damage caused to vessels mainly in Bowen, Airlie Beach, Shute Harbour, Hamilton Island and surrounding areas was varied. Boats were beached and broken, sailors took shelter in marinas and creeks using cyclone moorings. Many people were evacuated as it was too dangerous to stay and the cyclone seemed to last an eternity.
The insurance claims made on boats will be in the millions of Dollars and because of the amount of damage and large number of claims it will take a time to process. Assessors will be kept busy for months as some boats are proving difficult to access because of where they have ended up, with crocodiles also making it difficult.
How to prepare for a cyclone
There will be many discussions in months to come on the best tactics for going through a cyclone and making sure your boat survives. Preparation certainly plays a big part in this, so many boats, for whatever reason seemed to be woefully underprepared.
- Stripping the boat – sails, awnings, Biminis, solar panels
- Dinghies – tying down might not work, off the deck, locked away completely seems to be the best option
- Leaving sails on, caused lots of damage
- New lines, lots of them, masses of fenders
-Unfortunately, it seems from the amount of write offs, beached and missing boats staying on a swing mooring is not a good or safe option.
Sailors are generous and with the various platforms available for them to use, they are discussing how their boats survived or did not survive Cyclone Debbie. Sharing their experiences, what they did right, what they would do next time, mistakes they saw around them, we all can learn from their experiences. As the scouts say BE PREPARED!