The requirements for what boat owners must do in the event of an incoming hurricane vary depending on the marina. States are starting to enact regulations mandating boat owners to prepare their vessels in specific ways in the wake of Katrina and Wilma. What are the most crucial things a boat owner needs to know to protect themselves and their boat during a hurricane, given all this knowledge, some of it conflicting?
The majority of specialists concur that there are two fundamental guidelines that provide the best guidance. First, make a strategy for what you will do if a storm is headed your way. To do that, double-check your state’s regulations and the terms of your contract with the marina to determine what they require. Additionally, you want to ask your boat insurance provider if there are any rules that can have an impact on your policy. To make sure you fully get how much time is required to move or prepare your boat, perform a dry run during the off-season.
Second, it is never advisable to try to survive a hurricane in your boat. Although it is a common fallacy, being on a boat in open water during a cyclone is not safer than being on land. Boats may be swept far inland by hurricane winds and tides, or they may even be sunk. Risking your life for your boat is not worth it.
If at all possible, moving your boats are always the best approach to avoid damage. To do this, though, advanced planning for inland storage space is necessary. Drawbridges are frequently closed down prior to a hurricane to aid in the evacuation of people from low-lying areas, which many boat owners are also unaware of. Due to this, it is even more crucial that you move your boats as soon as a hurricane watch is issued for your region.
Some areas have flotilla plans in place in order to move the maximum number of boats in the shortest time. Your local emergency management office will issue flotilla information in advance of a hurricane. If you are planning on joining a flotilla, be sure that your boat is properly maintained and fueled.
There are some easy things you can take to reduce damage if transferring your boats is not an option. All portable objects, including electronics, antennae, dinghies, sun shades, oars, and other items that can get blown around and harm your boat, should be taken off. Any other objects should be firmly fastened. Before a storm, rope and other supplies may be hard to come by, so get them early to secure your boat.