We’re now in Hurricane Season and hopefully we’re wiser from past experience, but it doesn’t hurt to review a few tips for securing your boat.
Remove canvas, sails, and loose items, double up dock and fender lines and add chafe guards. Remember that your fenders may be lifted by the wind and become useless, so cross tie your boat to hold it away from the dock. Tie your dock lines so they can be adjusted from the dock, and consider using snubbers. If you are on a fixed dock, make sure your lines are long enough to allow for rising water.
Because power may go out or be disconnected, shut down everything you can to conserve battery power for your bilge pumps. And be sure to take photos of your boat after preparations are made, in case you need them for an insurance claim.
If you have filed a hurricane plan with your insurance company, locate it and follow it. Some insurance companies will pay for half of the expense of hauling your boat as storm prep, but storing your boat on the hard isn’t a guarantee of safety. Winds can cause it to rock in the jacks, throwing it off balance and causing it to fall. Tie down straps or chains can mitigate this somewhat. If your boat yard is not paved, make sure the jack stands are on plywood or another solid surface.
After the storm passes, if your boat is gasoline powered, check your blower vent to make sure it isn’t filled with water and trapping gas fumes before starting your engine, and check the security of your shore power connection.
There is a wealth of information available through West Marine/Boat US, on the Internet, or from your insurance company. We are hoping we all enjoy several more decades hurricane-free, but the best precaution is to make a plan well ahead of time.
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