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How to Prepare Your Boat for a Hurricane, Courtesy of Progressive

Tips to make sure your boat is hurricane-ready

Know how to protect your boat if a hurricane or other severe weather event is approaching. We developed these tips with help from the U.S. Coast Guard and Federal Emergency Management Administration. Ultimately, the best way to protect your vessel is to remove it from the water, and all other measures are supplemental in the event this can’t be done.

Whether your boat is docked, anchored, or in dry storage:

Have a storm strategy and implement it well before the hurricane hits.

Remove non-secure items, electronics and excess gear.

Remove important documents and valuables.

Make sure openings are watertight, and remove or stow non-essential canvas.

Ensure that all self-bailing thru hull fittings are clear of debris.

Check that batteries are fully charged and that automatic bilge pump switches are operational.

If your boat is docked:

Double-up on chafe protection.

Double all lines, attaching them high on pilings to allow for a storm surge. The longer the dock lines, the better a boat will move with high and rough tides.

If your boat is anchored:

Do not tie it parallel to the shore. Leave plenty of room between your boat and other boats. Be sure to use enough line to allow for a storm surge. Clear all self-baling cockpit drains. Consider using several anchors.

If your boat is in dry storage:

Place it in an area higher than the expected storm surge. Lash it to its cradle with heavy lines and consider adding water to the bilge to help hold it down. Never leave your boat on davits or on a hydro-lift. If your boat is on a trailer, take some air out of the tires and secure the wheels with blocks between the frame and the axles. Make sure all drains are free from debris and drain plugs are removed. With any of these scenarios, if you’re out of town, ask a friend or relative with access to your boat to help. Sure, you’ll “owe him,” but that favor could help prevent some very expensive damage.

Of course, the most important thing to remember is to protect yourself. Never put yourself in danger while trying to protect your boat.