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How to prepare for cyclone season

Cyclone season is upon us and the Bureau of Meteorology has released its outlook for the 2020/2021 season which runs from November to April.  

Cyclones can wreak havoc for the maritime industry, so it’s important to be prepared to ensure the safety of your commercial vessels. 

On average, between 9 and 11 tropical cyclones form each season in the Australian region, of which 4 typically make landfall. This season the BOM estimates that across Australia as a whole, there is a 66% chance of more tropical cyclones than average, influenced by La Nina conditions in the tropical Pacific and warmer than average ocean temperatures in the north of Australia. 

In La Nina conditions, we can expect the first cyclone of the season to form earlier, and a greater number of tropical lows, which even though they may not form into cyclones can still deliver damaging winds and heavy rainfall, increasing the chance of flooding.

As we all know, when it comes to the weather it’s safer to expect the unexpected, so it’s essential to maintain and keep up to date contingencies, such as your Cyclone Safety Management and Procedures Plan, to protect your vessels. 

Learn how to prepare and respond appropriately to extreme weather events by consulting your region’s ‘Extreme Weather Event Contingency Plan’ to access communication frequencies, personnel contacts and port / marina information relevant to your location, available here.

You can reduce risks and operational disruptions by keeping your vessel/s and all its systems and equipment well maintained and fully functional. In addition you can: 

  • Ensure your vessel is in a water-tight, seaworthy state
  • Ensure your mooring arrangements are up to the job at hand
  • Reduce wind loadings, particularly when the vessel is unattended
  • Secure your tender and all of the hatches 
  • Double up on mooring lines and check they are the correct size and in working condition 
  • Check all bilge pumps (including automatic) work, all weatherproof storm covers are in good order where applicable, and that all self-draining holes are clear
  • Leave your contact details on the vessel for emergency services in case it goes adrift 
  • Make sure your insurance policy is current

Speak to your local broker today about how one of our specialist Marine Protect policies can cover you during this cyclone season. 

Even with modern technology, the intensity, size and location of cyclones are difficult to predict exactly, so stay up to date with the forecast regularly at http://www.bom.gov.au/cyclone/index.shtml or by dialling your local Marine Warnings line.