DEEP: Preparing Your Boat for A Hurricane

Preparing Your Boat For a Hurricane
 
  • If the boat is trailerable, remove it from the water. Take the boat home or to an area that is elevated above the anticipated storm surge. Consider storing the boat in your garage.
  • If you are to store your boat on land choose a location, clear of trees, overhead wires or any other objects that could come down.  Also, do not store the boat on ground that is prone to become saturated because it could topple the boat.  If possible strap the boat down to the ground.  This has proven very successful.  Remember, never strap the boat to the jack stands.  See the Hurricane Preparedness Guide for pictures and more information.
  • Whether in the water or on land, reduce the surface area of your vessel. Remove all covers, dodgers, canvas, and any gear stored on deck, including dinghies, small outboard motors, spare sails, fuel containers, etc.  Remove all sails from the rigging.
  • Consider removing expensive electronics.
  • Close all through hull valves. (Except auto bilge drains or other drains)
  • Ensure that all the batteries are fully charged. Turn off all electrical equipment except for the automatic bilge pumps. 
  • Close and secure all doors, windows, and hatches.
  • Add extra dock lines. Use as many cleats as possible to distribute the forces on these lines to a larger area.  Lengthen lines at fixed docks, if possible, to accommodate higher tide levels and storm surges.
  • Add chafing gear on all 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 of your fenders even if your boat is on a mooring.
  • If your boat is on a mooring, check the chain if time allows. Inspect the mooring pennant for wear. The cleats on your boat can be the weakest point of your mooring system. Consider attaching additional lines to the mooring and running these lines to additional attachment points on your boat. These points could be the mast, winch drums, other cleats or the bow eye.  This will distribute the pulling forces across a larger area of your deck. 
  • HURRICANES HAVE CAUSED SOME OF MARITIMES WORST DISASTERS AND HAVE TAKEN THE LIVES OF COUNTLESS SAILORS.  NEVER ATTEMPT TO RIDE OUT A HURRICANE ON BOARD YOUR ANCHORED, MOORED, OR DOCKED VESSEL.

For more information on hurricane preparedness visit www.boatus.com/hurricanes.

Hurricane tracking information is available at www.nhc.noaa.gov.