How to Prepare Your Boat for a Hurricane – Part 3

Moving Your Watercraft

If your plan is for moving your watercraft, try to move it at least 48 to 72 hours before the hurricane or storm is estimated to strike the area. This may even be before a hurricane watch is issued. Make sure that:

* Fuel tanks are full.
* Fuel filters are clean.
* Batteries are charged.
* Bilges are clean.
* Cockpit drains arre clear and open.
* Firefighting equipment is in good condition, in place and readily accessible.

Remove and/or secure all deck gear, portable gear, radio antennas, outriggers, fighting chairs, deck boxes, bimini tops and side canvas/curtains, sails, booms, dorades, extra halyards, canister rafts, and dinghies. Be sure to secure all hatches, ports, doors, lazarettes and sailboat rudders. The dinghy may be required to take lines ashore.

If your watercraft is moored at a dock on a canal, river, or in a marina near the ocean, it is possible that with an additional 5 – 10 foot or greater storm surge the vessel could take a beating against a dock or even impale itself on the pilings. The best offshore mooring location for a vessel to ride out a storm is in the center of a canal or narrow river where at least doubled mooring lines can be secured to both shores, port and starboard, fore and aft. Do not raft vessels together at moorings or docks, especially if larger and smaller vessels are involved. The probability of damage to the vessels is greater than if they are moored separately.

If the vessel must remain dockside at a private dock or marina, heavy duty fender boards (2X6) should be installed on a bare wood center piling to prevent damage. Lines should be doubled and even tripled where necessary to hold a vessel in the center of a berth or off seawall or dock pilings. Preventers should be installed at the top of the pilings so lines cannot slip off the top. Note that nylon line will strethch five to ten percent of its normal length.