Ready or not, hurricane season officially starts June 1. Experts encourage residents of hurricane prone areas to start preparing now. If you boat in hurricane-affected areas, follow these recommendations when securing your boat for a storm:
- Remove trailer boats from the water. Take them home or to an area elevated above the anticipated storm surge. Consider storing trailer boats in a garage.
- Choose a location free of trees, overhead wires and other potential dangers when storing boats on land. Avoid areas prone to ground saturation, because shifting ground can topple boats.
- Strap boats to the ground when possible.
- Reduce a boat’s surface area—whether it’s stored on water or land. Remove all covers, dodgers, canvas, biminis and gear stored on deck, including dinghies, small outboard motors, spare sails, and fuel containers. Remove all sails from the rigging.
- Consider removing expensive electronics and storing them at home.
- Close all through-hull valves (except auto bilge drains or other deck drains).
- Ensure that all batteries are fully charged. Turn off all electronics except for automatic bilge pumps.
- Close and secure all ports, windows and hatches as well as all vents and dorade boxes to engine spaces.
- Add extra dock lines. Use as many cleats as possible to distribute the forces on these lines to a larger area. Secure some heavy lines to pilings, allowing for tide and storm surge.
- Keep lines from the boat to floating piers as tight as possible. Tighten again after the lines are wet. The shock load of lines pulling on cleats is what usually causes their failure.
- Add chafing gear on dock and mooring lines where needed, especially if the lines go through chocks. The heavy strain placed on these lines significantly increases the amount of wear on them.
- Put out all your fenders, even if your boat is in a slip with no other boats beside you.
- Check your insurance policy, and keep it in a safe place.