Tips for Protecting Your Boat Before a Hurricane
Hurricanes wreak havoc on boats and marinas. And if the storm is strong enough, there’s no telling where some boats might end up.
Fortunately, hurricane forecasting is so advanced now that you have plenty of time to get yourself and your boat ready for the storm. The most important thing above all else is to stay off your boat. Trying to ride out a hurricane onboard is foolish, dangerous and deadly. Now that we got that last sentence out of the way, here are some more tips on how to prepare your boat for a hurricane.
Find a Safe Location
Before thinking about strengthening your boat in place against an upcoming storm, consider moving it out of the water first.
The easiest and most straightforward way to protect your boat from a hurricane is to trailer it to a safe location. Shelter it from trees and from tidal waters that can sweep it away. If you can’t trailer your boat to a safe location, here are some other hurricane preparedness steps you should take.
Charge Your Boat’s Batteries
Keep your boat’s battery charged, and consider adding a backup. When torrential rainfall hits, a charged battery helps ensure your boat’s bilge pump works to get the water out.
Tie Up Your Boat for the Surge
Double all of the lines and rig-cross everything fore and aft to help hold your boat in place. Also, plan for a storm surge that could lift the boat as high as 10 feet.
Attach lines up high on pilings in case the water level rises, then cover all of those lines with tape, rubber hose, rags, or anything else you can find to prevent chafing that can compromise the lines. If you’re tying it up to a mooring, think about whether it’ll hold. Ask your harbormaster if a chain might help. Also, avoid using davits and lifts, which can turn your boat into a pendulum in the wind and cause major damage to it.
Remove Sails and Tops
Sails catch the wind, and even Bimini tops can get a grip on your boat and move it or capsize it. Make sure to remove all sails and tops before the storm hits.
Have a list prepared of everything on your boat, and keep video documentation if you can. Finally, make sure you have your boat insurance documents handy in case you need to file a claim.