How to Prepare Your Boat for a Hurricane – part 2

Continuing the discussion about how to prepare your boat PRIOR to the storm…

For Smaller, Lightweight Boats

* Determine what you need to do to load and haul your boat to a safer area.
* Be sure your tow vehicle is capable of properly moving the boat.
* Check the condition of your trailer tires, bearings and axle. Too often a flat tire, frozen bearing or broken axle prevent moving the boat.
* Once at a safe place, lash your boat to the trailer and place blocks between the frame members and the axle inside each wheel. Owners of lightweight boats may want to consider letting out about half the air in the tires, then filling the boat one-third full of water to help hold it down. The blocks will prevent damage to the springs from the additional weight of the water. Consult with the manufacturer for the best procedure for securing your lightweight boat.

For Boats in Dry Storage

* Determine the safest obtainable haven for your boat and make arrangements to move your boat there. When selecting a safe location, be sure to consider whether storm surge could rise into that area.
* Wherever you choose to locate your boat for the duration of the storm, lash the boat to its cradle with heavy lines. Based on the weight of the boat, consider adding water to the bilge to help hold it down.
* Never leave a boat in davits or on a hydro-lift.

For Boats Remaining in Marina Berth

* Double all lines. Rig crossing string lines fore and aft and attach high on piling to allow for tidal rise or surge. Make sure lines will not slip off pilings. Inspect piling and choose those that seem the strongest and tallest and are properly installed. All storm lines should be at least one size larger than regular lines.
* Cover all lines at rough points to prevent chafing. Wrap with tape, rags or rubber hose, etc. Install fenders to protect the boat from rubbing against the pier, pilings and other boats.
* Assess the attachment of primary cleats, winches and chocks. These should have substantial back plates and adequately sized stainless steel bolts.
* Batteries should be fully charged and checked to ensure their capability to run automatic bilge pumps for the duration the the storm. Consider backup batteries. Turn off all other devices that use electricity.
* Do not stay aboard your boat!