How To Prepare Your Boat for a Storm
Safety > How To Prepare Your Boat for a Storm
How to prepare your boat for a hurricane:
- Preparing your boat ashore
- Preparing your boat in the water
June 01 was the official start of the hurricane season. While there isn't anything you can do to make your boat indestructible, there are several things you can do that might prevent or minimize its damage in heavy storms.
The first step in preparing your boat for the wild winds and surging seas of a hurricane is to decide on the best place to store your boat before the hurricane hits. The ideal spot is probably up in North Dakota or Montana! If that's not a possibility, take your boat to the farthest inland location you can access.
Preparation will vary depending on the location that your boat is being stored.
Preparing a boat ashore
You'll want to store your boat in a location that is higher than the storm surge predicted for the hurricane. Remove all the loose gear in your boat that the wind could take with it, or even worse, could use as a sail to push your boat around. These objects can also become destructive projectiles. They include covers, bimini tops, life rings, outriggers, windlasses, anchors, and similar gear. You should cover hatches and ports to prevent water damage to your boat. Remove the drain plugs. If your boat is on a trailer, you should deflate the tires about half way and put blocks in front of and behind them. Placing wooden blocks between the frame of the trailer and axle will help support the added weight caused by heavy rains. Strap the boat down to the trailer and secure the trailer to a sturdy object nearby.
Preparing a boat in the water
If you are unable to get your boat ashore and are forced to leave it in the water, the process to secure it is a little bit different. In addition to removing all loose gear from your boat, close all thru-hull fittings and set out chafe gear where lines will rub cleats, deck edge, and dock edge. The greater number of fenders and lines you put out, the greater padding for your boat. Remove any portable fuel tanks and turn off any fixed fuel tanks. Cover hatches and ports and leave the auto bilge pump on. Make sure you have a good battery and that it is fully charged. Set storm anchors out and lines to cleats at a 45-degree angle.
Rather than leave your boat in a crowded harbor or marina, you may want to consider moving it up into a waterway, river, or canal that is large enough to accommodate it. If you decide to do this, you'll need to make sure your boat is anchored down well enough that it won't come loose and become a threat to other boats. It is a good idea to purchase extra chafing gear, lines, anchors, and fenders early in the hurricane season (before late summer and fall) because many sources sell out quickly once the hurricane warning is issued. The earlier you can get your boat prepared for a hurricane the better.
Give heed to the very first warnings. Travel time will dramatically increase just before the storm hits, whether you're on the road or on the water. As soon as you hear the storm alerts, remove all loose gear from your boat, put on fenders, and tie down your boat or get inland. Do not delay. Do not try to ride out a hurricane on your boat!
By preparing yourself to take these basic precautions, you can rest assured you have done everything humanly possible to reduce or eliminate hurricane damages to life and property. Remember to shop iboats.com for the best variety and lowest prices on the items you'll need for protecting your boat. While it may be hurricane season, it's also the season for marine fun! If you're prepared, you don't have to worry about anything but enjoying yourself on the water.
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