How to Prepare Your Boat for a Hurricane: part 1

The key to protecting your boat from hurricanes or any severe weather is planning, preparation and timely action. Most of the work is done PRIOR to the storm. Generally, you from 12 to 24 hours to take action after bad weather is predicted or a hurricane warning is issued. But the key is to HAVE A PLAN ahead of time.

* Make sure your plan includes a list of equipment and supplies needed to carry out your plan.
* Check your marina or storage area’s lease or rental agreement and know your responsibilities and liabilities as well as the marina or storage area’s responsibilities.
* Determine how long it will take to remove valuable equipment from the boat so you will have an accurate estimate of time and effort involved.
* If applicable, check with your state to see if drawbridges will be open for boats during evacuation procedures.
* After you have made anchoring or mooring provisions, remove all movable equipment such as canvas, sails, dinghies, radios, cushions, Biminis, etc. Lash down everything you cannot remove, such as tillers, wheels, booms, etc.
* Seal all opening to make the boat as watertight as possible (duct tape works well).
* Turn off electrical system unless you plan to leave the boat in the water. If the boat is not to remain in the water, remove the battery to eliminate the risk of fire or other damage.
* If time allows, remove your boat from the threatened area or take your boat to a previously identified hurricane refuge.
* Keep all documents, including insurance policies, a recent photo or video of your watercraft, registration, equipment inventory, lease agreement and telephone numbers of appropriate authorities (harbor master, coast guard, insurance agent, national weather service, etc.). Store these documents in a safe place, somewhere other than your boat.