During a hurricane the best place for you to secure your boat is ashore. Plan ahead and book your space early so you’re not competing with every other boat owner on the Island when the time comes! (Hurricane season runs from 1st June to the 30th November.)
Here are some top tips to protecting your boat during a hurricane:
- Tie it together with other boats, if possible
- Do not put it parallel to the shore as waves can capsize it
- Remove Bimini top or any item on deck that could become a projectile object during strong winds
- Unstrapping masts on sail boats is also strongly advised.
Remember to take everything, including all paperwork, insurance records and electronics, off the boat. Make an inventory (including serial numbers) with photographic or video evidence, of items left on board or that could not be taken off.
Don’t be afraid to ask for professional marine advice.
Boats on Land
If your boat can be trailered, then take it as far from open water as possible, preferably to a garage. If that isn't possible, try and pick a location that is on higher ground and away from trees and power lines.
Remove all electrical equipment, everything else possible and disconnect the battery. Use wooden blocks at the trailers' wheels, deflate tyres, fill one-third of the boat with water to weigh it down, lash the boat securely to the trailer and use tie-downs to secure the entire unit to the ground and something secure.
If you don't have a trailer, part fill with water and tie the boat to something secure. For boats with and without trailers, put duct tape on windows and every opening, but remember to remove it quickly, once the hurricane has passed and it's safe to do so, as the adhesive can stain the boat.
Boats in the Water
This obviously isn't ideal but precautions should lessen any damage. If your boat is kept at a marina you will need to know their hurricane procedure. Most stipulate that boats must be removed, so you will need to know where you are going to moor your boat and any cost involved. Ideally, you will want a sheltered waterway, as far away from the coast as possible.
Mooring with a number of other boats will help as it will require more force to move the boat. Use at least three anchors for your boat and tie it down to secure pilings. Use as many lines as possible and double and cover all ties - but ensure you leave enough slack for water levels to rise considerably. Use fenders and tyres to protect your boat from rubbing against the dock and other boats. As with boats on land, remove as much as possible from the boat and apply duct tape to windows and openings. You should also charge your battery to run your bilge pumps and to get your boat back to its original berth after the hurricane.
Always remember, people are more important than boats, so never take a chance to save a boat.