With every typhoon season, it is worthwhile reflecting on a few simple measures that boats on moorings should consider.
Make sure that your pleasure vessel licence is up to date - an expired licence would automatically invalidate your insurance. Check your insurance policy with reference to any special terms for "named wind storms" and that your mooring location is included in the policy.
Ensure roller furling headsails, mainsails, boat covers, biminis and canvas are removed and stowed below decks. Insurance is unlikely to cover damage to canvas if left on deck. Also the additional windage can seriously affect the loads on the mooring.
Check mooring lines for chafe / UV damage and replace if at all concerned. Fit chafe protection where the lines cross over the deck or through chocks. It is worth noting that nylon line loses strength and abrasion resistance over time. Failure can often occur as a result of the fibres of an old line chafing against themselves rather than against the rail of the boat or fairlead.
Never use chain or low stretch line to connect to the buoy. Shock loads can be very high and it is not uncommon for boats using chain (in the false belief that it is stronger) to have their deck cleats ripped out. Consider using purpose-made "shock absorbing" lines or add on shock absorbers to the mooring lines.
If the anchor is on the bow roller, ensure that the mooring lines cannot chafe against it. If it is a problem, remove the anchor.
Check the shackle from the mooring lines to the swivel and that the swivel is in good condition and rotating freely - if in doubt, replace it.
Consider fitting a second set of lines or line as an emergency back up - these should be slacker than the working lines and anchor to an alternative strong point on deck. Never secure a mooring line to the base of a deck-stepped mast or to any standard rigging. Consider using the primary winches as anchor points.
Ensure that the helm is securely lashed amidships.
Ensure all hatches and lockers are securely dogged down and that there is no loose gear on deck (Liferafts, EPIRBS, horseshoe rings, danbuoys etc).
Ensure that the cockpit drains are clear and auto bilge pump (if fitted) is working. Heavy rain has sunk more than one boat.
Remember that whilst we try to keep the sampans running for as long as possible, the sampan servie may be curtailed in the event of severe weather.
Keep an eye on the weather and make your preparations early. It is no fun trying to get a roller furler off the boat in 40Kts!
The following links are recommended for updated information on the movement of tropical storms.
Hong Kong Observatory - overy own Hong Kong focused site for typhoons
Typhoon 2000 - a great Philippine based site with plenty of links and user friendly interface
If in doubt, please contact the Marine Office of the RHKYC for assistance.