Living on a waterfront property in South Florida comes with stunning views and easy access to water activities. However, it also comes with the responsibility of preparing your property for hurricanes, which can be a real threat.
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Although hurricane season is from June 1st until November 30th, preparing your waterfront property for hurricanes starts months earlier. By following these tips, you can have peace of mind knowing that your home and family are prepared for hurricane season.
How to Protect Your Home With Docks and Seawalls
Seawalls, which are physical barriers that run along the shoreline, are an essential line of defense against hurricanes. However, they can only do their job properly if they are well-maintained. Have your seawall inspected before hurricane season to ensure its longevity.
To protect your waterfront home from hurricane season, you also need to consider your docks. During seasonal inspections, look out for loose decking, worn pilings, or any signs of rot since damaged pieces can become projectiles during high winds.
What to Do to Protect Your Boat From a Hurricane
There are a few different options to keep your boat protected during a hurricane:
- Dry storage at a marina: Storing your boat in a bay at a marina may not always be the best choice. Although these locations are roofed, they are often constructed sparingly and may sustain significant damage during heavy winds.
- Dry storage at home: If your boat is on a trailer or stands at home, you must ensure that it is securely strapped down. Jack stands can wobble in high winds and may easily become dislodged. One option is to partially fill the boat with water to prevent toppling. Do not leave the boat on a hydraulic lift.
- Anchorage at a dock: If you choose to leave your boat at a dock, you must secure it firmly with at least two anchors. Opt for a floating dock with high pilings, as storm surges can often swamp boats at fixed docks. Anchor lines should be at least 10 times the water depth at the mooring location.
No matter which option you choose, you must also prepare your boat by turning off its electrical system, tying down anything that can't be removed, applying extra fenders, and sealing off all entry points.
How to Protect Your Home During Hurricane Season
Waterfront properties are at high risk for storm surges, high winds, and damage during a hurricane. You can help reduce the risk of damage to your and your neighbors' properties by following guidance from FEMA:
- Clearing your yard and securing any loose objects: Remove any debris, lawn furniture, or other loose objects from your yard that could become projectiles during high winds. Secure items that cannot be moved, such as grills or heavy outdoor furniture, to prevent them from causing damage during a storm.
- Installing storm shutters: Storm shutters are designed to protect windows and doors from high winds, flying debris, and water intrusion. Installing storm shutters on your windows and doors can help prevent damage to your home's interior during a hurricane.
- Trimming nearby trees: Overhanging branches and trees close to your home can pose a significant risk during a hurricane. Trim any branches that are close to your home or power lines to prevent them from falling and causing damage during high winds.
- Sealing exterior wall openings: Seal any gaps or cracks in your home's exterior walls, windows, and doors to prevent water intrusion during a hurricane. Use weatherstripping, caulk, or other appropriate sealants to create a barrier against water penetration.
- Installing a seawall: As mentioned before, seawalls are known to reduce damage from hurricanes and floods. Having a seawall builder install this barrier is a powerful defense against hurricanes.
Tips for Getting Your Family Ready for Hurricane Season
Part of getting ready for hurricane season involves ensuring that your whole family is prepared.
Make a Plan
Like having a fire drill at school or in the office, your family should prepare an emergency plan now to ensure everyone is on the same page and to catch any weak spots in the plan before it's too late.
According to the CDC, your hurricane plan should include an emergency contact list, a list of the nearest shelters, and printed maps of the area. Write down your emergency plan and go over it multiple times with each family member.
Create a Hurricane Kit
The State of Florida stresses the importance of having a hurricane kit with items such as:
- At least three days of non-perishable food (for each family member and pet)
- Drinking water for at least three days
- A first-aid kit
- Important documents and cash, stored in a waterproof container
- Communication, like a battery-operated radio
As a leading marine construction company in Southwest Florida, we can help you plan for hurricanes by installing seawalls, floating docks, and other defenses against rising tides and high winds. Whether you need deck repairs or want to build one that will last for decades, we would be happy to help.