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Thursday, September 07, 2023

Hurricane Season: Protect Your Boat with These 10 Tips

Hurricane season is here! Learn how to protect your boat with these 10 essential tips and ensure its safety during the storm.

Being boat owners comes with some rough realities. On average, there are roughly 10.1 named hurricane storms throughout the season. These can range from smaller tropical storms to full-blown, in-your-face raging winds that destroy homes and boats.

You need to take care of your boat when you want to avoid ferocious winds, menacing storm surges, and intense natural tantrums. Even the toughest boats will shiver a bit in their anchors at an oncoming hurricane. Let’s drop anchor on some of the more necessary tips to prepare your boat for the hurricane season.

#1 – Understand the Threat

Okay, waterway kiddies. We need to have a heart-to-heart about oncoming waves, rising wind speed, and a head sea sure to flip your favorite boat. Hurricanes are not garden-variety storms. These are the virtual rockstars of weather events. Inside the rough seas of a hurricane, you will experience strong winds and sea conditions unlike anything else you know. 

A boat in rough water is going to crash. A simple emergency kit is not enough. You must prepare your boat and take these storms seriously from the very moment there are weather reports of storms.

#2 – Start with a Secure Location

You cannot stay in open water. Find a suitable marina or storage facility that acts as a five-star hotel for your boat. You want a safe place with calmer conditions from the choppy water of a hurricane. Any experienced boater will turn on the navigation lights and head to the boating sanctuaries that help avoid big swells. Do not sit on your reaction time and find a mooring provider. Swiftly get close to a docking area where you are safe.

#3 – Secure the Hatches!

Everything on board your boat needs to be secured. This is a maritime origami challenge where dock lines, fenders, knots, and anything else that can strap down your boat become an essential tool for managing rough conditions and minimize damage. Double up those dock lines like you’re giving your boat a reassuring hug. Tighten everything more than a kid after a triple-stacked sundae, so your boat doesn’t end up on an unscheduled vacation three towns away.

#4 – Remove Valuables & Electronics

Your boat is your life jacket to happiness. During a hurricane, you must consider it a minimalist interior design. Time to channel decluttering and move any valuables, electronics, personal documents, or other accessories you cannot go without. Look, the reality is if you lose your boat in rough water, you don’t want to reinvest all your hard-earned cash into the accessories you could have saved.

#5 – Double All Lines

Want some extra stability during a hurricane? Weather conditions and high seas can harm the gear you have onboard. The fun mobile chair on the bow can suddenly become a harpoon from extreme winds and big swells. Give your boat a sturdy safety net by doubling up on lines wherever possible for extra securement.

#6 – Reinforce Hatches & Seals

Passengers never remember to seal all their hatches like sturdy locks on treasure chests. You should never be slow to drive a boat to fair water or seal your hatches with proper marine sealants that provide waterproof magic. Sneaky leaks and pesky surges can sink your boat and cause all your equipment to flood from random debris that clogs your engine.

#7 – Remove Sails & Canvas

You never want to see TV footage of the hurricane with your boat in the background, happily fluttering loose canvas in high winds. Be prepared with foul weather gear that safely stows all your extra canvas, sails, and linens. Wind speed is a severe factor in a hurricane, and your sail can end up blocking cars, houses, and nearby emergency teams trying to help.

#8 – Maintain Preventative Maintenance

No, that isn’t a double entendre. Hurricanes love rusty hinges or wobbly fixtures. Those wind knots will rip anything with hinges that are not probably in place. Rough water will happily destroy any part of your hull that is wobbly. Before you hear about oncoming waves from a hurricane, practice some preventative maintenance by shoring up loose fittings or checking for weak spots regularly.

#9 – Develop a Communication

Everyone, from passengers to the captain, needs to know what to do in the event of rough conditions from a storm or hurricane. It doesn’t matter if you manage small boats, a ferry, or a luxury yacht. You need a plan in place that is clearly displayed on your boat, so everyone knows what to do, where and how to get weather broadcasts, and how to move past the potential damage of hurricanes.

#10 – Do Not Stay on the Boat!

Get off the boat. Let’s say that again: get off the boat! Your vessel is no safe place to be during a storm. A boat in rough water is going to move and shift in ways likely to damage your fragile well-being. Get off the boat and hunker down in a place where the winds, water, and debris cannot harm you.

FAQs

What is the best way to protect your boat in a hurricane? 

Ah, the age-old question! The best way is to follow a careful checklist of steps we've just laid out for you. From securing lines to removing valuables, it's all about preparing your boat for the stormy showdown. And no matter what, get yourself and your passengers to safety!

What are essential ideas/things you need to survive a hurricane?

You've got it – the survival essentials! Start with a safe location, strong long lines, reinforced hatches, secure storage, communication plan, and don't forget to jump ship if needed. It's like building a fortress of safety amidst the chaos.

What is the number 1 safety tip for surviving a hurricane? 

Drumroll, please! The top tip is to never stay on your boat during a hurricane. It's like opting for a dance in the storm when you could be cozying up on dry land. Your safety is paramount.

Conclusion

That’s it: a treasure trove of hurricane season survival tips likely to help you, your boat, and your passengers make it through the upcoming storm. One more thing worth mentioning is to double-check your insurance paperwork and contact your insurance agent. Check the insurance policies to know if you will have a high deductible in case the worst were to happen.

Please stay safe and heed any warnings you may receive about hurricanes. Yes, it could end up being nothing more than a slight drizzle, but is that really worth risking?

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