Experts predict busy hurricane season

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Boaters should be prepared for the active hurricane season that experts are predicting. Photo from BoatUS.

Boaters should be prepared for the active hurricane season that experts are predicting. Photo from BoatUS.

The 2018 Atlantic basin hurricane season is expected to be above average with 14 named storms predicted to make landfall this year.

There’s a 63 percent probability for at least one major hurricane landfall — which is counted as a Category 3, 4 or 5 storm — to make landfall on the U.S. coastline, versus the average of 52 percent for the last century, according to prediction experts at the University of Colorado.

The University predicts a 39 percent probability for such a storm along the U.S. East Coast, including the Florida peninsula, versus a 31 percent average for the last hundred years.

Experts predicted a 38 percent chance of a major storm to collide with the Florida panhandle westward to Brownsville, well above the 30 percent average.

The odds for such a storm have increased another 10 percent in the Caribbean to 52 percent.

Boat Owners Association of The United States, or BoatUS, is asking dealers to reach out to boat owners well in advance of hurricane season, which runs from June through November, to remind them to make sure they’re prepared before it strikes.

The insurance provider put together a list of six recommendations for boat owners, and for dealers to share with boaters, to check in their policies.

First, they should see if they have salvage coverage.

Next, BoatUS advises that boat owners can lower their named storm deductible by preparing.

Third, they should hurricane haul-out coverage, and use it if they have it. Fourth, they should find out if their boat’s trailer is insured.

For boaters that choose liability-only coverage, they should check if that covers salvage and wreck removal.

“Liability-only policies are generally very affordable and especially valuable to boaters when an expensive recovery effort is needed to salvage a boat,” BoatUS said.

BoatUS estimated that more than 63,000 recreational boats were damaged or destroyed as a result of both Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, meaning tens of thousands of vessels required salvage.

Boat owners should ask about what kind of salvage operations various insurers provide.