Be Prepared for Weather Emergencies

It seems like Hurricane/Tropical Storm Sandy has been causing some minor problems over the last week and will be causing some major problems in the coming week. I have been through a few hurricanes but Sandy marked the first time I’ve dealt with the effects on the water. This past Monday I left for a five day cruise to the Bahamas and Key West, Florida. At the time, we weren’t even aware of any tropical weather until we arrived in Orlando the night before our cruise.

Monday morning we headed to Port Canaveral and boarded our cruise ship for what we thought would be a five day cruise (but not a three hour tour). We successfully docked in all three of our ports with no problem. On our “last” day at sea we were informed that due to Sandy creating large swells it would not be safe to return to Port Canaveral and our return would be delayed by a day. We were all fine but only because everyone was prepared for the weather emergency even though we didn’t know about it ahead of time. It could have been a very uncomfortable additional day of vacation without proper preparation.

Safety is the Number One Priority

The reason why we were at sea for an extra day was because the cruise line did the right thing and put safety first. The cruise line lost a ton of money by delaying our return by a day. It cut the next cruise a day short and they ended up giving them a prorate refund while not charging my cruise for the extra day.

It also inconvenienced a lot of people as flights were missed, plans had to be scrapped and new plans had to be improvised. The cruise line opened up the $1.99 per minute satellite phones so everyone could make calls for free. None of this mattered though because everyone got off the ship safe.

If you are ever in the way of a major weather disaster and you are advised to evacuate, you should do so if at all possible. Your safety is the most important thing. It will cost money and you might have to incur credit card debt but none of that matters if you aren’t safe. Just be cost conscious and do the best you can to incur as little debt as possible.

ALWAYS Have Extra Medication

You know how they always say you should have extra medication on hand? Well, if you haven’t, you should! My girlfriend always packs double the amount of medication we need when we go on trips. We only needed an extra day of medicine in this case but it finally paid off. None of her medications were essential but what if it was and she didn’t have any extra medication packed? It would not have been fun.

When you evacuate or even first hear of a storm make sure you have plenty of your medications, especially if they are essential. The extra Dramamine we packed saved us from getting sick in the twenty foot swells that filled the port holes of our sixth floor cabin with water.

Food and Water are Essential

The one thing I learned about cruise ships is they have a ton of food and water. The cruise line was definitely prepared. I am sure they had an idea an extra day at sea would be a possibility when we pulled into our last port, so I am assuming they brought some extra food and water on board that was above and beyond the insane amount they already had.

If they started to run short on food there would have been a ton of cranky cruisers. I would have been fine for a day or two with no food but I think some people solely go on cruises to eat insane amounts of food. A full stomach is a key to a happy person and the cruise line was definitely prepared in that sense.

When you are hunkering down or evacuating make sure you have plenty of nonperishable food that you can prepare without power. If it is in a can make sure you have a manual can opener instead of an electric can opener. Think through everything and make sure you have enough food that you can prepare safely.

Water is key so make sure you have a LOT of it available for drinking. If your main water supply is not available you could be in deep trouble if you aren’t prepared, after all, water is even more essential than food.

Sandy is on her way to the East Coast so if you haven’t prepared already do whatever you can now to be as safe as possible. If you aren’t in the path of Sandy take this as a warning to make sure you’re prepared for the weather emergencies that occur in your area. Safety is so important and you should not procrastinate.

Are you prepared for weather emergencies? Is Sandy headed your way?

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About Lance Cothern

Lance Cothern, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is the founder of Money Manifesto. You can read more about him here or connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.


  1. Wow, that would be pretty scary knowing that a huge storm was brewing. When my wife and I took our first cruise 2 years ago we had a very similar experience. The last two days they wouldn’t let anybody out on the decks because they didn’t want anybody to tip overboard.

    Glad you guys made it back safe! We’re thinking about going on a cruise next week, so I hope the storms are done for the year!

    • They did close the outer decks down but you could still get out there easily and they didn’t seem to care. Maybe it is just a liability issue so they can say they told you not to.

  2. Great advice! I’d be pretty nervous at sea knowing there was a hurricane!

  3. I am glad you got home safe- like you said, that is the most important factor!

    I absolutely agree with you- being prepared is essential!

  4. We definitely are fortunate on the west coast to not have that many storms. Still good advice though to be prepared and get stocked up. When I was 5 our city was flooded and I remember us not being prepared at all. My dad had to get into a row boat to go and try to bring back food and water. Not an experience I’m aiming to redo.

  5. We’ll be just getting a few rainstorms and wind that are left over from the storm (just in time to ruin Halloween). But these are definitely some good things to consider. If we lived further East, I’d be very worried right now.

  6. Oh wow, glad you made it back safe and sound, and how smart of your gf to pack extra meds. I’ve never done that on trips, but it sure makes sense. Right now we’re in the middle of Sandy (NYC) and they say things are going to be the worst around 8p-1am. Thankfully we will have power and have a good supply of food and water. Hoping everyone makes it out of this storm safe.

  7. We’re hopping a cruise in Port Canaveral on Sunday, same place. Hopefully there’s another hurricane scare and we get a free day too! 😉

  8. Watching the news yesterday was horrifying. I always wonder why people don’t evacuate when they’re told to? It seems like many of those 13 deaths could have been avoided if people actually paid attention.

  9. Tackling Our Debt says:

    I’ve been on a number of cruises. Cruising this time of year can be risky. Thankfully your ship took good precautions and you were only delayed for a day. I saw a report on the news last night from a couple that were on a Disney cruise in the same location as you. They suffered a lot of damage on their ship and spent a lot of time in their cabin (as they were told to) riding out the storm.

  10. Mandy @MoneyMasterMom says:

    You might have been one of the few with a story about how you benefited from Hurricane Sandy. An extra pair of underwear seems like a good idea too, just in case 🙂

  11. Living on the west coast, I don’t have to worry about hurricanes, but we do worry about earthquakes. I don’t really have any supplies though should we have a big earthquake, maybe I should get some.. thanks for the inspiration! haha

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