Update 9/10/18: Well, here we are again. Hurricane Florence is knocking at the door of the Southeast, and she’s bringing her friends Helene and Isaac, currently brewing off the coast of Africa. Though Florence is the biggest threat to North and South Carolina, all of us should take this recent pop in tropical activity as a wake-up call: hurricane season is not over until the fat lady sings (November 30). So, get prepared, batten down the hatches and double check your hurricane plan now.
Howling winds, torrential rains, flash floods and tornadoes – no, this isn’t a trailer for the latest big disaster movie, but a sample of what hurricane season can bring to our doorsteps. As boaters, the threat of a hurricane hits even closer to home than some others, since storm surge, massive waves and high winds can pose a tremendous threat to our vessels. What should you do to protect your boat this hurricane season? Well, it has a lot to do with being ready long before the winds start blowing.
Securing Your Boat for Hurricane Season 2018
We may already be in the dead of hurricane season, but you still have time to get your prep completed before the next big storm threatens.
- Make a Plan Yesterday: One of the biggest errors in judgment when prepping for a hurricane is to wait until one’s breathing down our necks to do so. The time to prepare is not next month, next week or tomorrow – get a plan together today. Figure out if you will keep your vessel on the water or spring for safe storage on land. Update your hurricane checklist, sort out your vessel storage and make sure this plan fits well with your overall hurricane safety plan.
- Dock Check: Docks and marinas may be perfectly safe in most normal conditions, but hurricanes are far from the average afternoon thunderstorm. Check in with your marina to see if they recommend or require any action from you to make your vessel storm-ready. You can also ask if there is any insurance protection on docked vessels. Storm-rated floating docks with tall pilings may be a safer alternative to traditional, fixed docks, but are also not 100% guaranteed to keep your boat safe in hurricane-force winds and surf.
- Consider Safer Storage: Though boat lifts and floating docks could keep your boat safer than some alternatives, your best bet is to keep your vessel safely out of the churning, destructive wave pool that an incoming hurricane may create. You may be able to rent space in a covered storage facility or anchor down your boat in a safe location using straps.
- Be Prepared to Bail: Though it’s nightmare fuel for a boater to even consider this, if you’re forced to pick between your safety or your boat’s safety, we’re going to have to suggest you pick the former. If an oncoming storm is coming too quickly for you to safely store your vessel and get out of Dodge, it’s a far better idea to leave your vessel to the elements and check the damage once the coast is clear. Hopefully, the above prep will help you avoid this scenario, however.
Hurricane season ends in November, meaning we still have quite a few months of sitting on the edge of our seats, waiting on the next big storm to threaten. In the meantime, keep an eye on the tropics, prepare for the worst and know that, if a hurricane has you in its crosshairs, you’re ready for it.