Preparing Your Boat for a Hurricane – A How to Guide


Every marina has different rules for preparing your boat for a hurricane. And what must be done by boat owners in the face of an approaching hurricane. In the wake of Katrina,Wilma and Andrew, states have passed laws requiring boat owners to prepare their boats in certain ways.


Let's dive right in.


Steps for Preparing Your Boat for a Hurricane


In light of all the information out there regarding preparing your boat for a hurricane, some of it is conflicting. What are the most important things a boat owner must know to protect themselves and their boat during a hurricane?


There are two basic rules that most experts agree offer the most important advice for preparing your boat for a hurricane. First, plan ahead for what you will do when a hurricane approaches.


That means checking your contract with your marina to see what they require. And checking with your state for any additional regulations.


Check with Your Boat Insurance Company


You should also check with your boat insurance company to see if they have regulations that may affect your coverage. Conduct a dry run during the off-season to be sure you fully understand how much time is necessary for preparing your boat for a hurricane.


Second, under no circumstances is it safe to attempt to ride out a hurricane in your boat. There is a persistent myth that being on a boat in open water is safer than being on land during a hurricane, but the facts do not bear that out.


Hurricane winds and tides can carry boats far inland or even sink them. Your boat is not worth risking your life.


The Best Way of Preparing Your Boat for a Hurricane


Moving your boat is always the best way to prevent damage if at all possible. However, this requires arranging for inland storage space well ahead of time.


Also, many boat owners are not aware that drawbridges are often locked down before a hurricane to facilitate the evacuation of people from low-lying areas. This increases the importance of moving your boat as soon as a hurricane watch is issued for your area.


As part of preparing your boat for a hurricane you should note that some areas have flotilla plans in place in order to move the maximum number of boats in the shortest time. Your local emergency management office will issue flotilla information in advance of a hurricane.


Make Sure Your Boat is Properly Outfitted


If you are planning on joining a flotilla, make sure that your boat is properly maintained and fueled.


If moving your boat is not a possibility there are some simple things you can do to minimize damage while preparing your boat for a hurricane. Remove all portable items from your boat such as electronics, antennas, dinghies, sun shades and oars. Or any other item that may blow around and cause damage.


Be sure that any remaining items are securely lashed down. When preparing your boat for a hurricane be sure to obtain rope and other supplies to secure your boat well in advance. As these items may be in short supply before a storm.


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