Your Marine Performance Parts Experts Show Why You Don’t Need to Give Up Hope When Facing Choppy Waves
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Stainless Marine your marine performance parts analysts would like to share with you these topics we thought would be of interest to you this month regarding how to survive those hurricane winds.
Your marine performance parts professionals know that storms at sea are harrowing experiences. Towering walls of water, driven by powerful winds, slam into the ship. A major storm can batter even the largest, sturdiest vessels. And they’re an unavoidable part of life on the water.
Storms are part of life at sea, however. “If a ship is in the ocean, you’re going to have heavy weather,” says Fred Pickhardt, chief meteorologist at Ocean Weather Services.
GETTING THE WEATHER REPORT
To steer clear of hurricanes, mariners need good weather information. A century ago, weather updates at sea were limited to Morse code messages, but since the 1980s, weather updates have come to printers or fax machines right on the ship’s bridge.
Today, captains can also receive weather maps, satellite images, and other information by email. Some vessels have more high-tech tools aboard, like onboard computer systems that help plan routes based on weather forecasts.
The most dangerous ship in a hurricane is an empty one. That’s because the weight of cargo helps stabilize the ship against the waves. Ballast provides a little stabilizing weight when ships sail empty, but not always enough.
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The rolling is hard for the crew, but the worst thing for a ship is the repeated impact of the hull slamming into the troughs between waves.
ANY PORT IN A STORM?
Cargo ships don’t always head for the nearest port when a hurricane approaches, because not all ports offer the same kind of shelter.
Once in port, crews anchor the ship, leaving plenty of slack in the anchor chain to prevent the motion of the waves from snapping the chain. They might also put the ship’s engine in reverse to put pressure on the anchor.
Being caught in the wrong port can be dangerous. “After Katrina, there was a ship I went on in Lake Charles that had hammered its side against the docks during the hurricane and sustained some pretty heavy damage to its side,” he says.
IF ALL ELSE FAILS
What if a ship must face a hurricane at sea? “You would try to steer for the area of the ocean that is going to see the shallowest waves and the lowest winds,” Hardberger says.
In the teeth of the storm, a ship’s survival depends on two things: sea room and steering-way. Sea room means that the ship is a safe distance from anything it might crash into, like a coastline.
Steering-way means that the ship is moving forward with enough power to steer rather than just getting pushed around by waves and wind.
Winning a fight against the sea depends on having a well-maintained ship, a trained and experienced crew, and a healthy dose of good luck.
So don’t forget these helpful tips on how to survive those hurricane winds. 1) Make sure that you always get the weather report; 2) you need to make sure that you have ballast; and 3) try to steer for the area of the ocean that is going to see the shallowest waves and the lowest winds.
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