Atlantic hurricane season typically runs from June through November, during which time boat owners should be on high alert. Here are a few tips on how to keep your boat safe in a storm:
Whenever a hurricane or tropical storm is expected to make landfall in the area, your safest bet is always to remove your boat from the water. Some places, like Mason’s Marina, require boats to be removed, so you should check the policy of your local marina.
Smaller, trailerable boats should be hauled to a safe location, preferably on high ground and away from trees. All items on the boat should be secured or removed, especially expensive attachments such as cameras. The drain plug also needs to be taken out so that water will drain from the stern.
The boat should then be tied to the trailer, with the trailer’s tires partially deflated and chocked with cement blocks. Harbor master Mike Moran of Harbour Village Marina suggested buying clamps used for mobile homes and strapping those to the trailer, then leaving it hooked to your vehicle.
Some of the most common mistakes … are people leaving canvases on and garden hoses hooked to the dock, both of which can cause damage to surrounding boats.
In milder storms that are not making landfall in the area, preparation may be as simple as adding more lines to your boat (with chafing gear and added length to account for high water) or tying your boat to its lift and pilings.
Still, Moran noted, “anything that can blow around, will blow around.” Some of the most common mistakes he sees each year are people leaving canvases on and garden hoses hooked to the dock, both of which can cause damage to surrounding boats.
Protocol for protecting boats from hurricanes varies depending on the strength of the storm and type of boat, among other factors. For tips specific to your boat, you can find information online or contact a local marina.
Of course, always remember if it comes down to protecting you or your boat, only one of those things is replaceable.
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