The photos I've seen are of some pretty astounding heavy weather. Good luck with the staying safe part of the endeavor.
The more I think about it the less I like putting any sort of adhesive in direct contact with the lens. Changing focus, if it meant taking tape off, would be too big a deal to be convenient. Hence the suggestions for clean and durable alternatives.
There's another (sub)option, it turns out. If you have or can get the use of a non-AF-S lens like my Micro Nikkor 105 2.8D that sports a device (in this case a ring with a lock button) specifically for setting the lens to AF or MF, then, with the lens set to AF and the camera set with the AF-ON relegated only to the thumb button, the camera is effectively in focus lock since the focus ring has been decoupled from the focussing mechanism. No amount of twiddling will change the focus setting - only pressing the thumb button. True, it's not a zoom...
Putting drag on a camera drive AF lens that doesn't decouple would, I suspect, endanger the camera's AF motor and gearing. The lens that took this shot (24-85, 2.8-4D) has a focus ring that does not decouple and is virtually impossible to turn when the camera drive is engaged. If it is bad form to wrench the focus ring while engaged, it must be equally bad form to restrain the focus ring while the camera is trying to focus.
This wouldn't matter as much for an AF-S lens since the focus ring is connected to the focus drive through a slip mechanism. There, any drag would work and I would regard as preferable drag that did not involve putting tape directly on the lens.