Is Your Boat Ready for Hurricane Season? Hurricane Preparedness Tips for Boat Owners

June 1st marked the first official day of the 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season which will linger among us until November 30th.  South Florida locals are interestingly blasé about the possible threat of a hurricane and often operate as if “it will never happen here.” (Even though of course we all know it has). It’s one of those local nuances that contradict common sensibilities, but almost every South Floridian is guilty of taking the threat of a hurricane lightly. Boat owners, however, do follow some general precautionary steps to keep their babies…eh hem…I mean, their boats safe in the event that a hurricane does reach the Florida shoreline this hurricane season. Following are some tips and generally useful information for boat owners as they face the start of the 2015 Hurricane Season: Create a plan (now) – So, yes we Floridians are casual about hurricanes but it really makes a ton of sense to create a plan now. What would you do if that warning is put out by the National Weather Service? Once we get inside that 24 hour window, it’s at best a scramble to make arrangement to keep you boat safe and at worst, too late. It’s better to be over-prepared! A few things for boat owners to consider when making a Hurricane-preparedness plan:
  • Will your boat stay where it is? If not, what do you need to do to move it and where would it go? Consider your exit path (which will usually take place 48-72 hours prior to the storm’s scheduled land fall) including accessibility, depth of water, bridges, etc. A general check of things like: fuel tanks, fuel filters, batteries and safety equipment will be a good idea prior to making the move.
  • What do you need to remove from your boat? We’re not just referring to the wine glasses or the fishing rods! Things like the canvas, sails, radios, cushions, biminis, etc can all take time and resources to remove. And of course, you’ll want to lash down everything you cannot remove and make the boat as watertight as possible.
  • What are your plans this summer? If you’ve ever been on an out of town trip and learned of an approaching Hurricane on the evening news, you know how helpless that can leave you! If you are planning to be away this summer, be sure to leave instructions with a reliable source that can help you execute from afar.
  • Where are all your important documents? Gather up all the important documents related to your boat and place them in a safe (waterproof) place. Your document list should include: insurance policies, a recent photograph of your vessel, boat registration, equipment inventory, lease agreement with the marina or storage area as well as important contact phone numbers.
  • Who and how will your boat be secured? The details of how your boat will be secured during a storm will vary by type of boat and the location where it is stored. An important part of your plan will be getting it secured in time to beat the storm. If you are doing it yourself, make sure you have help if needed and also have the necessary materials. If your boat will be at a marina or storage facility, contact them to discuss what happens in the event of a storm.
As we enter the first days of the 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season, it’s important for South Florida boat owners to be ready for anything. A few simple planning measures can make all the difference in the event of a storm. Once the winds begin to kick up, the roads are full of traffic and the stores turn into madhouses, you can bunker down in your safe zone (probably secretly thinking it’ll miss us again); taking comfort in the knowledge that no matter what happens, you’ve got a plan!


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