Every boat owner should take the time to prepare your boat in case of the next major storm. During Florida’s hurricane season the next major storm could be just around the corner so you need to prepare your boat for the worst. Here are our tips for protecting your boat in hurricane season.
Related Blog: Hurricane Preparedness for Your Waterfront Property
Planning Matters When it Comes to Vessel Size
For boats that you can trailer away from the coastal area, that’s your best option. No matter the size, boats either have to be hauled out or securely tied down during a tropical storm. When you have a boat on a dock lift, you should not leave your boat on the boat lift during a hurricane.
Finding the Nearest ‘Hurricane Hole’
When land storage is not an option, locating a designated hurricane hole is the next best option. Hurricane holes are the best-designed locations because they are usually coves that have shelter from the destructive winds of a storm. With the innovation of floating docks, boats can rise with the storm surge.
Dockwa gives links to reserve dockage in many marinas in different states. Depending upon your location, there are three Florida hurricane holes to contact that will offer better protection in the event of major tropical storms.
- "Gulfport Marina" is on the Gulf Coast, located in Pinellas County, not far from St. Petersburg, FL.
- "Burnt Store Marina" is also on the Gulf Coast in the town of Punta Gorda, FL.
- "Rivers Edge Marina" is on the Atlantic side in the city of St. Augustine, FL.
Preparing Your Boat for Hurricane Season
There is a lot to think about and do when a hurricane is on its way.
Here are a few tips to help you:
1. Create a Hurricane Kit
If you're not able to tend to your vessel, make arrangements with a friend or boating professional to carry out your boat's hurricane plan. By creating a hurricane kit, inclusive of a checklist, you or the designated person will have the equipment and supplies to prepare your boat.
2. Safeguard and Remove Important Documents and Valuables
Keep your boating records together. That should include: insurance policies, boat registration information, equipment and supplies inventory, any lease agreements with the marina or similar storage facility. You want to remove these documents and any valuables from the boat.
3. Seal Openings to Avoid Water Seepage
You will need tape that will not harm your boat's surface but will keep water from seeping into your lockers and inside of your boat. Seal off your lockers and outside cabinets. Even though most storage areas have drains, they can clog. Any hatch leading into your boat's interior needs taping. Wherever water can accumulate, you want to seal the openings to keep water out.
4. Remove Canvas and All Lose Items
You don't want to leave your canvas, sails, or anything that can blow off of your boat. You may be able to secure some items down with ropes and bungee cords.
5. Clean Out Drains to Keep Water Flowing Out
While you're sealing off your boat's hatches and lockers, be sure all drains are free of leaves and other debris that can build up. Animal hair can also cause drains to clog. Blow drains out with your hose to make sure water can freely flow out.
6. Secure Your Boat by Properly Tying Down
You want to make sure you have the proper lines to keep your boat from breaking free. For your vessel to have protection from banging into the docks, you must deploy enough fenders. The BoatU.S. Guide to Preparing Boats and Marinas for Hurricanes gives excellent visual aids for tying down boats in marinas and on moorings.
7. Get a Pump Out and Close Fuel Valves
To help keep our waters clean of sewage, it's a good idea to get a pump out. As another added precaution, you should close off your fuel valves.
Since 1979, Duncan Seawall, Dock & Boat Lift, LLC, has been offering the best in marine construction, and we are proud to be known as Southwest Florida's largest and most reputable marine construction company.
Being prepared is what makes a difference in making it through these big storms. Whenever you need our expertise, we're here to help. Be ready, and stay safe.