Preparing your Boat for a Hurricane

Published Date: Apr 29, 2022

The start of hurricane season is already just around the corner on June 1st. Below are standard precautionary measures to put into place to prepare a boat kept in any storm prone areas. During the summer months in the Northern Hemisphere if the palm fronds in your marina are waving and the evening air is balmy, you are likely in the hurricane latitudes. As a boat owner, executing an effective hurricane preparedness plan can help mitigate potential damage to your boat saving you and your insurance company money, saving you stress, and reducing the potential for damage caused by your boat to docks and neighboring boats.

A good hurricane preparedness plan consists of:

Checklists

  • Removal: Remove all loose gear including canvas, sails, and cushions.
  • Supplies: Make sure you have extra dock lines, fenders, anchors, tie-downs ready to deploy, and duct tape to seal windows, hatches, and companionways.

Statistically speaking, hauling your boat out of the water is your safest option

Hauled Out Ashore

  • When possible, strap each side of the boat down to tie downs in a concrete pad.
  • Store the boat above the projected storm surge.
  • Use anti-slip jack stands that are chained together to reduce movement.
  • Remove hull drain plugs (if any). REMEMBER TO REINSTALL PLUGS BEFORE LAUNCHING YOUR BOAT.
  • Make sure cockpit drains are clear.

Afloat

  • Deploy docklines in a spider web/crossing fashion. Use twice as many lines as needed for normal conditions and provide chafe protection where lines exit chocks or are tied around cleats and pilings.
  • If your dock is located in a narrow channel, work with neighbors to tie the boats to pilings on each side of the canal allowing the boat to be suspended in the middle of the canal to avoid chafe and abrasion.
  • Deploy anchors to hold the boat off docks and jetties when possible.
  • Fully charge all batteries.
  • Keep the bilges clean and confirm the automatic bilge pump is operational.

Trailered & Lifts

  • Lift or remove and store outboard engines.
  • Secure vessel from movement.
  • Keep cockpit drains clear.
  • Remove drain plugs *** REMEMBER TO REINSTALL PLUGS BEFORE LAUNCHING YOUR BOAT***
Written by Craig Chamberlain of Novamar