If you’re a boat owner, it’s important to take the necessary precautions to keep your boat safe during a hurricane. Hurricanes can cause extensive damage, and if your boat isn’t properly secured, it could be swept away or damaged by the storm. In this blog post, we’ll discuss some tips on keeping your boat safe during a hurricane.
A hurricane has been named and is headed right for you. And though you have days to over a week before it makes landfall, it’s always best to be prepared for the worst.
How to keep your boat safe during a hurricane? We map out the steps to take below.
- If you have the option to take your boat out of the water, do it. Smaller open boats and high-performance powerboats with low freeboard will typically be overcome by waves, spray, and rain, so it’s best to take them out of the water and have them stored on the trailer. Many marinas and yacht clubs will haul boats out of the water as a hurricane approaches, leaving only the bigger vessels to weather the storm.
- If left in the water, a boat lift where they will be above the anticipated storm surge is your safest bet, but not everyone has that option. If you can store your boat on a lift, strap it down to the lift with ratchet straps for the ultimate protection.
- Properly securing your boat is one of the most important things you can do to protect it against hurricane-force winds, rain, and storm surge. You should make sure that your boat is anchored securely and that all of the lines are in good condition. Cover all lines to prevent chafing and wrap all lines where lines feed through chocks with tape, rags, and rubber hoses or leather. Install fenders, fender boards, or tires to protect it from rubbing against the seawall, pilings, or other boats. If available to you, store your boat and trailer in a garage. If a garage is not an option, secure them to strong trees. Or, use concrete deadman anchors if trees are not an option. There are plenty of instructional videos available should you require more information on how to secure your boat.
- Charge batteries and double-check they can run automatic bilge pumps throughout the storm. As any boat owner knows, the boat’s batteries are essential for operating the boat. Without them, it will not be able to start or run any of its electrical systems. That’s why it’s so important to make sure that your boat’s batteries are fully charged and have a backup battery before a hurricane hits. During a hurricane, the high winds and heavy rains can lead to problems with the boat’s electrical system, including short circuits and power outages. If the boat’s batteries are not fully charged, they may not be able to handle the extra load and could become damaged. Having a backup battery will ensure that you still have power even if the primary battery fails.
- Remove and safely store loose items and anything that can blow off the deck of the boat such as life jackets, fishing gear, cushions, and chairs for example. Some items, such as chair pedestals, can be left in place, but you want to cover the open flange with two plastic zipper bags and secure them to the pedestal with electrical tape. Electrical tape stretches, sticks to itself, and will stay put in a moderate storm. As long as you stretch the tape tight on the bag and not the pedestal itself, you should be all set.
- Determine a course of action for the drain plugs. For all outboard motor boats, all drain plugs can be removed so that the boat doesn’t fill up with water. Or, you may opt to increase its weight by filling it with fresh water and leaving the plugs in place. It’s really a personal preference and what you feel is best to make it the most sturdy. However, do NOT do this with an inboard motor boat, as it will ruin the engine – opt to remove the drain plugs instead.
- Another important tip is to get your boat insured and understand what your policy covers. Your policy may have certain requirements you need to meet. It’s advised to inventory the contents of your boat because your boat insurance policy may require it anyway. Take pictures or videos as evidence should items be damaged or lost. The more information for your insurance agent, the better. Keep important information in a waterproof, floating lockbox to store copies of your insurance policy, boat registration, and anything else related to your boat such as a marina rental agreement.
- If you live in an area that is prone to hurricanes, create an evacuation plan which includes where you will go if forced to evacuate, how you will get there, and what you will do with your boat.
- Be cautious after the hurricane has passed. Looming potential dangers includeleaking fuel, exposed electrical lines (make sure the dockside power is off if there is any chance of a dangerous leaking current), sewage backups, missing dock boards, and so forth. There could be stray electrical current from submerged outlets and/or shore cords in the water, damaged vessel systems, etc. Do NOT enter the water until local authorities say it’s safe to do so.
Taking these precautions can only help preserve your boat during a hurricane. Remember, you can never be too prepared for a hurricane. And, with over three months left in hurricane season 2022, there’s still time to ensure your boat is safe.
Do you have further tips? Share them with us in the comments! Our goal here at SmartPlug is to keep your vessel safe and secure DAILY with our sophisticated shore power delivery systems. Contrary to popular belief, the #1 cause of shore power failure and fires is not electrical shorting, but rather overheating caused by poor electrical conductivity. SmartPlug products reduce the risk of this happening, keeping you and your boating crew safe.
Contact us at 206-285-2990 for any questions on what shore power system is best for your boat. We hope you’re enjoying wonderful adventures this summer and that you stay safe this hurricane season!