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Hurricane Preparation: Guidelines for Protecting Your Boat

Hurricane season is often heralded by expert opinions on how to protect your home, family, and pets, but there isn’t too much information readily available in protecting the rest of your property. If you own a boat, shielding it from the ravages of a hurricane is a bit tricky, and it isn’t something you should put off until a hurricane is imminent.

Have Your Trailer Ready for Land Storage

When your boat is stored in the water, you should have a plan ready to get it out in the event of an approaching hurricane. Don’t wait until the last minute to make sure your boat trailer is in tip-top shape. Have the brakes inspected and ensure the brake lights are functioning properly. Air up the tires and don’t forget to check the spare tire, too. Ideally, you’ll be able to store your boat and trailer indoors, but if this isn’t an option, you need to tether them to a large, sturdy tree or deadman anchor everything. Reduce the risk of major damage by stripping off anything the wind can tear off the boat or trailer. Weighing your outboard boat down with water will help hold it down in hurricane-force winds.

Keeping Your Boat in the Water During the Storm

Unfortunately, removing a boat from the water isn’t always possible. You have three options for water storage. The first is to berth at a dock with large pilings and protection from storm surges. You need to double your mooring lines but leave enough slack for the boat to rise and fall with the tides. Protect the lines from damage with a split rubber hose at points that will potentially wear more. If your region gets a lot of hurricanes, you probably know what a hurricane hole is. These inlets are surrounded by large trees that block winds and have tie-offs for anchor lines. When you own a boat and live in a hurricane-prone area, it’s best to find one of these areas ahead of time. Your third option is to securely anchor the boat in a harbor. Make sure you have heavy anchors and lots of line to allow for plenty of scope for each anchor.

It doesn’t matter how well you’ve prepared and how securely you’ve anchored, moored, or stored your boat. All the preparation in the world won’t make your boat a safe place to be during a hurricane. Do what you can to protect it, but never stay with it. Planning ahead will mitigate how much damage occurs, but there’s no guarantee your boat will survive. Removing valuables and items that could be loosened in high winds decreases how expensive any repairs or replacements will be after a hurricane.

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