Preparing your boat for a big storm
Although, Tropical Storm Bertha isn’t posing any big threats to the East Coast, she does bring up the topic of Hurricane and Storm Preparedness. Since Mother Nature does have a mind of her own, and it can never be promised your boat will remain unharmed, there are some steps you can take to soften the blow.
Haul out your boat
Keep a close eye on the weather during Hurricane Season. When you have a serious warning that bad weather is imminent, call up the boatyard where your boat resides and see if it can be hauled out and secured well on land. Many marine service centers have a storm haul out list. If your yard has a list, it’s a good idea to sign up. For example, if a named storm is imminent, boatyards watch carefully and begin haul outs.
You can find the Sign-Up sheet for Norton’s Hurricane Haul-Out List at the bottom of the page!
Generally speaking, when your name is on a storm haul out list, the boatyard will call and give you a one shot pass to have your boat safely stored on land. If you decide to chance it and not haul your boat, the boatyard will go to the next boater on the list and move forward. In preparing for a hurricane, boatyards fill up very quickly. Many insurance companies pay for storm haul outs so check the fine print or call your agent to discuss your policy.
If you missed an opportunity and the marina service center cannot haul your boat, begin preparing as best you can as soon as possible.
Batten Down the Hatches!
Secure your hatches and try to seal them up as best as you can to prevent water coming through. Remove any exterior canvas that might get blown away or ripped apart. If you have a sailboat with a roller furling headsail, be sure and take a couple of extra turns so that it doesn’t unfurl during heavy winds. Load up on fenders and strong lines to ensure the boat is as secure as possible in the slip.
Remove everything topside
In a bad storm, anything topside that can be blown away should be removed or securely attached. That means covers, cushions, and flotation devices must be stored. When preparation is complete, don’t forget to take pictures for future reference. Don’t forget to leave an extra set of good lines in a cockpit locker in case a line breaks or the marina needs to double tie your boat.
A lot of boaters might not live in the same area their boat is kept, so with the threat of a large storm or Hurricane, it can cause them to worry. Most marinas are very educated about hurricane preparedness. However, in advance, it is imperative that you discuss hurricane policies with your designated marine facility. Be sure the marina and yard have your correct emergency numbers and contact information.