Hurricane Matthew

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Hurricane Matthew will hammer parts of eastern Florida and other parts of the Southeast coast starting Thursday and continuing into the weekend.

As illustrated by the National Hurricane Center’s (NHC) projected path map, and also explained below, the severity of any direct impacts will depend on how close the center of Matthew moves near the coast.

An important point to make is that landfall does NOT need to take place for the worst impacts to come ashore. The strongest winds and most drilling surge will come to the coast in the eye wall, which surrounds the eye. Landfall occurs when the calmest portion of the eye, or the center, comes ashore. Hurricane conditions could come ashore even if the center stays 20 to 30 miles offshore.

All interests from Florida to coastal Georgia and the Carolina’s should continue to monitor the forecast closely and make necessary preparations for a hurricane. Those in eastern Florida should make those preparations as soon as possible.

Here is the latest on what we know about Matthew right now in terms of U.S. impacts.

1. Timing For Matthew

Projected Path

Projected Path

The red-shaded area denotes the potential path of the center of the tropical cyclone. Note that impacts (particularly heavy rain, high surf, coastal flooding) with any tropical cyclone may spread beyond its forecast path

As far as timing for any impacts along the Southeast coast, here is a general overview. The NHC forecast calls for Matthew to be a strong hurricane during this timeframe.

Florida Peninsula (particularly eastern Florida): Late Day Thursday-Friday, possibly lingering into early Saturday in northeast Florida.
Southeast Georgia: Friday-Saturday.
Eastern Carolinas: Later Friday-Saturday, possibly continuing into Sunday.

2. Battering Waves, Coastal Flooding, Beach Erosion Likely

No matter how close the center of Matthew passes in relation to the Southeast coast, we expect major marine impacts.

Matthew will generate large, battering waves along the entire coastline Thursday into the weekend. Mariners and beach goers are encouraged to stay out of the water given this danger.

Forecast Waves From Matthew

Forecast Waves From Matthew

Significant coastal flooding is also likely along the path of Matthew from Florida into the Carolinas. The magnitude of any inundation will be dictated by the exact path Matthew takes.

Furthermore, the threat for major, damaging storm surge flooding is in play should the center of Matthew make landfall or move right along the immediate coast. Locations from Florida’s east coast to coastal Georgia and coastal South Carolina are at risk for this possibility, though this is still uncertain.

Storm surge inundation forecast.

Here is how high the water could reach during this life-threatening inundation if the peak surge coincides with high tide, according to the National Hurricane Center:

  • Sebastian Inlet, Florida to the Savannah River, Georgia: 6 to 9 feet above ground level
  • Deerfield Beach, Florida to the Sebastian Inlet, Florida: 3 to 5 feet above ground level
  • Savannah River, Georgia to South Santee River, South Carolina: 3 to 5 feet above ground level
  • Virginia Key, Florida to Deerfield Beach, Florida: 1 to 2 feet above ground level

Of course, beach erosion is a given with all those factors above playing out.

If you live along the immediate coast, stay informed and have a plan to evacuate should you be instructed to do so.

3. Tropical-Storm-Force and Hurricane-Force Winds Likely

Hurricane-force winds (74+ mph) are highly possible along Florida’s east coast starting Thursday night, and potentially north of there in coastal parts of Georgia and the Carolinas Friday into Saturday.

This will particularly be the case if Matthew’s eyewall grinds along the Southeast coast or even makes landfall, again anywhere from Florida’s east coast and points northward from there.

Hourly Wind Gust Forecast

Hourly Wind Gust Forecast

Forecast wind gusts for Matthew. These are subject to change depending on Matthew’s exact path.

At this time, the National Hurricane Center has the greatest chance of hurricane-force winds right along Florida’s east coast. Those damaging winds are likely to occur no matter whether the center of Matthew makes landfall or stays just offshore. The exact strength of the winds will depend on how close the eyewall passes to the coast.

Structural wind damage will be possible along with downed trees and widespread power outages in areas where hurricane-force winds occur. Matthew is forecast to be a major hurricane (Category 3 or stronger) when it moves near Florida’s east coast, so extreme wind damage cannot be ruled out. Once again, that will depend on the exact path of the eyewall.

Should the center of Matthew ride right along the coast of Florida, hurricane-force winds could occur as far inland as Lake Okeechobee and the Orlando area in Florida.

(MORE: Impact Differences When a Hurricane Parallels the Coast Instead of Making Landfall)

Hurricane-Force Wind Probabilities
 The potential for tropical storm-force winds (39 mph+) will encompass a larger part of Florida as well as southeast Georgia and the coastal Carolinas. These winds could expand all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.

How strong those winds are in any one location will depend on where the center of Matthew tracks in relation to the Southeast coast.

(FORECAST: Charleston | Jacksonville | Miami | Wilmington)

Even tropical storm-force winds could down trees and knock out power.

4. Rainfall Flooding, Tornadoes

Two other threats we will have to watch for from Matthew are the potential for rainfall flooding and tornadoes.

Once again, Matthew’s track in relation to the U.S. coast will dictate the magnitude of any heavy rainfall impacts, possibly resulting in flooding. The heaviest rainfall totals, possibly ranging between 5-12 inches, are likely to be confined to the immediate coast, from Florida to the North Carolina. There is a potential for even heavier rainfall if Matthew makes landfall.

In areas where coastal flooding occurs, the heavy rainfall could make flooding worse or prevent water from receding.

Rainfall Forecast

Rainfall Forecast

An isolated tornado threat could also develop on the Southeast coast, particularly if Matthew makes landfall.

5. Matthew May Circle Off Southeast Coast Instead of Impacting Northeast States

In recent days, forecast guidance had suggested Matthew would eventually get pulled northeastward by a jet stream dip and potentially impact the Northeast states along with Atlantic Canada. This no longer appears to be the most likely scenario.

Instead, that jet stream dip may leave Matthew behind. This would result in Matthew pushing southeastward away from the coastal Carolinas on Sunday.

It’s possible Matthew could then meander off the Southeast coast into early next week, or even move back toward Florida, but details on this are very uncertain at this time. Stay tuned.

2016 Fall Equinox

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Today is the first day of Fall. What is the Autumnal Equinox?

September 22nd is the autumnal equinox, the time when the sun crosses the celestial equator. We have an equinox twice a year – Spring and Fall – when the tilt of the Earth’s axis and Earth’s orbit around the sun combine in such a way that the axis is inclined neither away nor toward the sun.

How the Autumn Equinox affects boaters:

Water temperature is changing quickly. Fall days can still remain bright, but the water is getting colder. If you spend any significant time in water even as warm as 60°F, you are risking potential body heat loss. Day length changes in the Fall. Daylight hours are shrinking, this is important to take in to account in planning a trip. Other weather hazards are more common in the Fall season. Low light, mist and fog can make you harder to see this time of year when out in the water. Wearing bright clothing can help keep you spotted in case of an emergency.

As all seasons come with different potential weather hazards, it is crucial to keep your insurance policy up to date for the hazardous conditions prominent in your area. The boat also deserves a little more attention in the fall. One thing that prevents many people from keeping their boats in past mid-September is the likelihood of severe weather. Stronger breezes are one thing; tropical systems are quite another. With these safety precautions in mind, Fall does not mean the end of boating season. There are plenty of Fall boating activities such as numerous boat and trade shows around the country. Fall is one of the best times for fishing. Fish are migrating and feeding in preparation for the Winter.  Fall boating is full of colorful landscape and comfortable cruising. The start of Fall means a gradual cool down in the temperatures both in the air and in the water.

Whether you are in the North, or tropical South, there is plenty to enjoy in the Fall boating season. Check out the quick video below to view the Equinox from space!

New Methods of Oil Clean Up to Protect Wild Life

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Pelican covered in oil after spill

The consistency of oil makes it difficult to remove from marine plants and animals once it has already been leaked by tankers ad offshore rigs. Finding a way to successfully and quickly remove spills is crucial for protecting ocean environments.

Birds eye map of oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico

Reminiscent of the BP oil spill back in 2010, ocean environmentalists are still finding ways to successfully improve life for aquatic animals, protecting and ensuring that their ecosystems are not polluted. Even six years after the spill, it will still take many more years of research to understand what happened. There were immediate effects of the oil spill that could be seen with the naked eye; Pelicans black with oil, fish belly up covered in smudge, turtles smothered washing up on the beach.

From 2002 to 2009, the gulf averaged 63 dolphin deaths a year. That rose to 125 in the seven months after the spill in 2010 and 335 in all of 2011, averaging more than 200 a year since April 2010. – reported Reuters in 2015. The impact of the spill on fish communities is still largely unknown. Studies show that coral communities have also been effected.

Graphic showing methods for responding to oil spills at sea. Plane applying chemical dispersants: Chemical dispersion is achieved by applying chemicals to remove oil from the water surface by breaking the oil into small droplets. Burning: Also referred to as in situ burning, this is the method of setting fire to freshly spilled oil, usually while still floating on the water surface. Booms: Booms are long floating barriers used to contain or prevent the spread of spilled oil. Skimming: Skimming is achieved with boats equipped with a floating skimmer designed to remove thin layers of oil from the surface, often with the help of booms.

Methods of oil spill clean up

Beyond other clean up methods, researchers have been looking for more cost efficient and safer ways to protect the ocean environments while preforming clean up.

Now, scientist Yi Du from the University of Wollongon in Australia, and his team, have found a way to do this. By using tiny particles of iron oxide can be drawn to droplets of oil. When added to small water tanks polluted with oil, these 25-nanometre-wide particles turn the oil into a magnetic liquid that can be drawn towards a simple bar magnet.

When tested, the “magnetic mops” allow sticking to both lighter oils floating on the surface and heavier ones that have sunk. The particles are non-toxic and any excess could be hoovered up with magnets and reused, says Du. “Iron oxide nanoparticles are already commonly used in medical imaging, so we know they’re safe.”

The idea is promising, how practical it will be in a real ocean oil spill is uncertain at this point in testing. Though the team is now planning to test the magnetic particles in larger tank experiments before seeking permission to trail them in open water.

The efforts and creative testing will be promising for a better, cleaner future for marine life allowing for us boat lovers, fishers, and divers to explore, fish, and cruise in the same ways that we do today.

Staying Alert During Hurricane Season

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Hurricane Season is approaching soon, but don’t sweat! NBOA has you covered with free checklists, and more advice regarding hurricane season. From your equipment, to storage, and reporting a claim, we’ll provide you with the information you need to know to stay safe this hurricane season starting with this courtesy check list!


Happening now at the American Boating Congress

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The American Boating Congress is the industry’s premier  political and legislative event that takes place in Washington D.C. that brings together those who work in the recreational boating industry. This is an opportunity to review legislative and political actions that will effect the boating industry.

Topics for review include ethanol, access, recreational fishing, deferred importation, invasive species, trade, WRDA (Water Resources Development Act), workforce development, state issues, The Federal Agenda, and additional legislation for the upcoming year.

A run down on the briefings:

Ethanol: E15 Hurts Boating. The American Boating Congress asks Congress to reform the Renewable Fuel Standard and protect recreational marine products and consumers.  The widespread use has caused engine failure at fuel ratios above 10 percent, land degradation from over farming, including nutrient enrichment of waterways like the Gulf of Mexico, and higher food prices for feed and other food stuffs, according to the National Marine Manufactures Association ( NMMA)

Access: The protection of recreational boating and fishing access at parks such as Biscayne National Park, and marine sanctuaries and to improve recreational activities across all federally-owned and operated lands and waterways. The federally managed waters should be maintained for the use and enjoyment of the public for generations to come. Any future management plan should take into account the economic and societal value of recreational boating and fishing, while appreciating the industry’s role in conservation, preservation and environmental stewardship, from The American Boating Congress.

Recreational Fishing: Revised approach to salt water fishing management, reasonable latitude in stock rebuilding timelines, process for cooperative management, and management for the forage base are topics that will be covered.

Deferred Importation: The Florida Yacht Brokers Association (FYBA) requests a legislative support to pass HR 4065 removing current restrictions in the cruising license that forbids offering used foreign flagged boats for sale to U.S. residents while in U.S. waters. Florida’s marine industry is a &17.2 billion market sector, supporting 202,000 jobs in the state of Florida. A cruising license normally valid for one year is obtained from U.S. customs and Border Protection at the first port of arrival in the U.S. and exempts pleasure boats of certain countries from having to undergo formal entry and clearance procedures.

Aquatic Invasive Species:  Each year fishing, boating, and tourism are harmed by invasive species. Infestation by AIS can shutdown boater access to waterways and decimate local economies. Boaters, manufacturers and the government must work together to tackle this growing issue.

 Trade: Issues that will be discussed include those a part of Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Asia-Pacific region, Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the U.S. and European Union, and Cuba.

WRDA: Water Resources and Development Act including ports, channels, locks, damn, and other infrastructure that support out maritime and waterway transportation system and provide flood protection for our homes and businesses.

Workforce Development: The U.S. recreational marine industry faces a shortage of well trained and qualified workers. To combat the lack of skilled professionals and build a thriving workforce, access to career and technical education must be increased.

 State Issues: Topics vary year to year, but typically these state issues include access, business mandates, taxes, environmental mandates, E-15, and towed water sports.

The Federal Agenda: This 2016 legislative agenda outlines the top priorities towards ensuring federal policies that support domestic marine manufacturing and the 650,000 jobs and 35,000 businesses it provides. These topics include fuel policy, Magnuson Stevens Act and recreational fishing, trade and commerce, and public access.

Additional Legislation: Other legislative topics that will be considered and discussed include Fiscal year 2017 budget, and the Personal Health Investment Today Act – which would expand the definition of a medical expense in regards to water sport related injuries.

For full PDF’s of the briefings, exclusive webinars, and more information about the ABC please visit the link below

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