Hurricane season isn't over yet, so we wanted to share with you some tips on how to prepare your boat for a hurricane or storm.
It is very important that you take all the necessary precautions to prepare your boats and make sure that it comes through unscathed.
Plan, plan, plan! Be prepared and act long before needed.
REMOVE EVERYTHING THAT CAN BLOW OFF THE BOAT
1. First of all, we want to reduce wind resistance, so we need to remove all canvas, cushions from the exterior and things like Bimini tops, cockpit covers, and/or windshield covers to make sure the wind can't get ahold and rip them apart or blow them off the boat.
2. Fold down and secure any Bimini frames outriggers and antennas and don’t just rely on the straps that come with them, use proper line.
3. Remove anything from the deck that will blow away, and that could get damaged, lost, or hurt other boats; and that includes fishing rods, fenders, brooms, brushes, buckets, toys, anything that’s loose.
TIE AND SECURE YOUR BOAT PROPERLY
4. Lines are you best defense in preparing for a hurricane:
- Make sure you use the proper type of line for your boat.
- Make sure you use the proper size line, going a size or 2 larger doesn’t hurt as long as the lines fit your cleats.
- Double up ALL lines
- Use Chafing gear to protect every line.
5. If on a fixed dock, leave plenty of slack in your lines for storm surge and flood tides. Tie the boat in the middle of the slip. Use pilings to tie too (these are stronger) If you use dock cleats be sure they are thru bolted into the dock joists or lag bolted deep into the pilings.
6. If on a floating dock, tie the boat in the middle of the slip and tighten your lines all the way around. However, be sure the dock pilings are tall enough to handle the amount of storm surge rise.
7. If you have outboard motors, keep them in the up position.
8. If possible, get your boat out of the water and secure it on land. For those boats out of the water, check if you have a drain plug, remove it so that any water collecting in the bilges, can drain freely.
DRAINS, BILGE PUMPS AND ELECTRICAL CONNECTIONS
9. If you have a tender on a platform or a boat on a trailer, take the cover OFF and remove the drain plug.
10. Unplug the boat from shore power, remove the cable, and take it ashore for safekeeping. Turn off all electrical connections except for the bilge pump power.
11. Close all seacocks except for overboard drains.
12. Tape all hatches to seal them from water intrusion and protect them from flying in the winds.
13. Ensure cockpit drains and scuppers are clear, place large mesh screens over them to prevent any objects or leaves from blocking them.
KEEP DOCUMENTS, INSURANCE, AND ANY VALUABLES SAFE
14. Remove any valuables or portable electronic devices and bring them ashore where they will be safe from damage and theft after the storm.
15. Remove and secure insurance papers boat registration and any other paperwork so that you’ll get a filer claim or better proof ownership of the boat if you can’t get back to it later on.
16. Take pictures of the boat and the hull identification number because you may need these later on. This will help the claims adjuster to identify the boat. Some insurance companies will increase the deductible if you can’t prove that the boat was properly prepared.
This article was based on information shared on some videos by BoatUS on how to prepare your boat for a hurricane.
We've shared two BoatUS videos below for you to watch.
- Preparing Your Boat for a Hurricane | BoatUS
- How to Tie Up Your Boat for a Hurricane or Storm | BoatUS
It is important to use your best judgement when preparing for a hurricane. There is no solid security or, guarantee of any type, in cases of natural disasters.