Preparing Your Boat for a Hurricane

Here in Florida, we know that hurricanes happen and when they do, proper preparedness is essential. When the 100-plus MPH winds start blowing and debris is being thrown around, the last thing you want to think about whether or not your boat is safe.

Luckily, you can save yourself the stress by acting now and taking steps to prepare your boat for when the big storm hits. Here are a few ways to prepare your boat in case of a hurricane.

Hurricane FloridaKeep Your Boat Secured with Reliable Restraints

The first step to ensuring that your boat stays safe in a hurricane is securing it in place reliably so it stays put even in high winds and heavy surf. Using durable materials such as nylon rope and dock cleats with backing plates can help keep your boat in place during severe weather. Relying on dependable restraints and even using additional tie-ups and redundancies, if possible, can help keep your boat in position at the dock.

Keep Your Boat Out of the Water

On the other hand, moving your boat away from the dock entirely may be a good option as well. While it may seem counterproductive to some, the Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) says that data shows boats are generally safer out of the water than in the water. The best recommendations of the association are to strap down boats on shore to heavy weighted anchors like concrete and to try and situate your boat at high ground where flood waters are less likely to reach.

Consider Using a Helical Anchor

One of the worst side effects of these hurricanes is the high winds and their ability to pull your boat out of its place. If you live in an area prone to these storms, consider buying a helical anchor. These permanent anchors are secured underwater into the seabed, unlike deadweight or mushroom anchors,  and provide astounding holding power. BoatUS says that in a 1993 study co-conducted with Cruising World and MIT, a 500-pound buried mushroom anchor could be moved with 1,200 pounds of pull and an 8,000-pound concrete deadweight anchor was moved with half that amount of force – 4,000 pounds of pull. By contrast, helical anchors tested resisted more than 12,000 pounds of pull – the maximum reading of the strain gauge.

Avoid Water Damage

Of course, it is not only the winds that can be dangerous, but it is also the mass amounts of water that could damage the sensitive portions of your boat. As an inexpensive tip, use duct tape and plywood panels to cover your instrument panel, suggests Cruising World. Much the same as you might board over windows at your home, this offers protection from the elements during the heavy rains, waves and wind.  You can also use tape to cover holes that lead below decks or to help protect other areas prone to leakage. Electronics should be heavily protected using similar methods, as well, or removed, if possible.

Hurricane season is upon us, so it is especially important to keep these tips in mind as you prepare for the rough weather. If you need any supplies or general assistance, or are in need or parts of service to repair damage after a storm, look no further than the experts at Triangle Marine Center. For more than four decades, we have provided the boaters of Central Florida with everything needed to keep boats running safely and smoothly. No matter your needs, our team can help. To learn more or to request service, give us a call at 352-343-6146 today!

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