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To haul or not? Cape Cod boaters prepare for a stormy weekend

Boats in storage at the Bass River Marina in Dennis.
John Basile
Boats in storage at the Bass River Marina in Dennis.

With strong winds and heavy surf expected this weekend, boaters on the Cape and Islands are taking precautions.

But, while boat owners are on alert, there has been no mass hauling of boats from the water on the Nantucket Sound side of the Cape.

“ I think there was pre-warning so some people were getting ready to take them out and they've already taken them out. Everybody's been watching the storm, day by day, and it seems to us the storm is making a move to the east, which is better for us,” said Falmouth Assistant Harbormaster Bob Watson Thursday afternoon.

As Watson spoke, there was no buzz of boat-hauling activity at the Falmouth Marina. The scene was similar on Thursday at the Bass River marina in West Dennis, Packet Landing on the Yarmouth side of the Bass River, and at Hyannis Harbor.

Part of the reason is that the track the storm appeared to be taking is likely to result in a less-severe impact for much of the Cape than was at first feared.

At the Bass River Marina in Dennis, boat-hauling activity was slow on Thursday.

Michael McIntee, an employee of the marina, said many boaters there were not too concerned because of the protected nature of the marina. He said he expects more concern a few miles away.

“More toward areas that are more to the east into the ocean, like Chatham and Provincetown,” he said. Those areas expect beach erosion from heavy surf.

North side beaches on the Cape could also suffer from north winds and rough surf conditions.

On Nantucket, where the storm’s impact is likely to be severe, Harbormaster Sheila Lucey told CAI people have been getting their boats out of the water this week, ahead of the expected of strong winds.

And, Lucey said people who aren’t sure what to do should err on the side of safety.

“If they’re in doubt, pull the boat out. I mean the season’s almost over anyway. So, if they’re not using it that much more why worry about it? Just get it out of the water.”

In Falmouth, Watson is closely watching the storm track.

“Hopefully the storm continues on the predicted course and we get some heavy winds, but north winds are a better wind for us on this side than a southeast or something else,” he said.

Watson said there is no mandatory action required of people with boat slips in Falmouth.

“We're not requiring people to remove their boats from slips. Our advice is double up your lines, secure your boat, and in our opinion things should go well.”

And, he repeated the traditional advice for boaters when storms approach.

“Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.”

Brian Engles contributes reporting to this story.

John Basile is the local host of All Things Considered weekday afternoons and a reporter.