For most people, summer brings to mind fun memories of vacations, relaxation, and leisure. But, for those living on the East Coast, summer means HURRICANE SEASON.
The Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June 1 to November 30. If you own a boat, you don't want to be caught off guard. Hurricanes can cause serious damage to your vessel and also pose safety hazards to you and your loved ones. In this article, we will explain how you can prepare your boat for a hurricane.
Assess the Risk
The first step in preparing your boat for hurricane season is evaluating the potential for damage. The location of your boat plays a significant role in how to best prepare.
Your contingency plan will vary depending on the location of the boat. This could be in the water, at a dry dock, or a marina. Boats docked in the water are obviously more vulnerable than those on dry land. Also, if you live in a high-risk hurricane area, you should know the evacuation routes and the nearest shelters.
To learn more about Evacuation planning, click here.
Protect Your Boat and Belongings
The next step to take is to secure and protect all the items on your boat. Remove all loose objects from the deck, and store them in a secure place. Ensure that anything that cannot be removed is tied down. Hurricane winds can reach speeds of up to 155 mph, and a loose item could trigger severe damage or injury.
You will also want to consider adding reinforcements like extra lines and fenders for added protection.
Remove any non-essential equipment on the boat and store them in a secure, dry place. If you have any valuables on the vessel, it’s best to take them out of harm’s way too. Your aim is to reduce the potential for damage to your boat as much as possible.
Seal All Openings and Hatches
Ensure you seal all the boat’s openings and hatches to prevent water from getting inside. If this happens, it can cause irreparable damages. Therefore, inspect your boat for leaks and weak spots and fix them before the hurricane strikes.
Turn off All the Electricity and Electronics
The next step is to turn off all the electronics and electrical controls on your boat. These are particularly susceptible to damage. Luckily, if you have a SeaWater Pro watermaker, you have one less thing to worry about! Our watermakers are made completely without any electronic components that would otherwise be susceptible to damage.
Move Your Boat to a Safe Place
If possible, move your boat to a safe place when a hurricane seems imminent. If your boat is docked in a marina, contact the marina management and enquire about their preparedness plan. Ensure you follow strictly the marina's instructions to keep all people safe. Look for a nearby hurricane hole or a storm-resistant shelter where you can secure your boat.
If you are in an area with high-risk hurricanes, it's important to know the local evacuation routes and nearest shelters.
Stocking up on Essentials
Those that live on their boat full-time face the additional task of finding shelter on land. If you are able to, stay with a relative or find a hotel out of the hazard zone.
You'll want to make sure you have everything you may need in case an extended stay is necessary. The most important things on your list should include batteries, shelf-stable food, and drinkable water.
If you have a SeaWater Pro watermaker, we recommend you use it to your advantage. Fill as many gallons as you are able to and take them with you. Keep in mind that power lines may be damaged and roads may be flooded for several days after the hurricane passes.
Check out this Disaster Supply Checklist from the Florida Department of Emergency Management.
Document Any Damage
During a hurricane, you may suffer some damage even though you have taken all the necessary precautions. When the storm subsides, stay calm, take pictures of the damages, and document the extent of the damage to your boat. Report any damage to your insurer so that they can commence with the claim process.
Hurricane season can pose daunting challenges to the boat owner. By taking these precautions, you can help alleviate some of the potential risks.
Start by assessing your risk, securing your boat, and turning off all electronics. Ensure you seal all openings and hatches to avoid water damage, and if possible, move your boat to a safe place. In the event of damage, be sure to document it and report everything to your insurer.
When you take the time to prepare for hurricane season, you take the stress out of summertime. Now you can get back to enjoying some fun under the sun!