Preparing your Boat for a Hurricane

Published Date: May 03, 2022

The start of hurricane season is here with Hurricane Agatha, the first Pacific hurricane, wreaking havoc in southern Mexico last week. Although a relatively mild storm, Agatha was an early reminder it is time to get prepared. 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***

Your insurance policy may include a storm haul-out reimbursement benefit or similarly named coverage for reimbursement of expenses that you incur to protect your property from an impending named storm by hauling the boat out of the water or moving it to a safe location. Please review your insurance policy for further information.

To monitor the track of named storms and obtain further information on hurricane preparedness, please go to:
nhc.noaa.gov; hurricanecity.com; ready.gov/hurricanes;

To file a hurricane haul out reimbursement claim, please forward a copy of the invoice for haul out services, and include the policy holder’s name and policy number.
Email to: claims@novamar.net or Fax to: 206-281-8036

Written by Craig Chamberlain of Novamar