Preparing and Protecting Your Boat for a Hurricane

June 1, 2022

For the southeastern United States, the span of June 1 to November 30 is officially hurricane season, with August and September being the most volatile months for these violent storms. When a hurricane is bearing down on your region, preparing and protecting your boat might not be top of mind but with the potential of high winds, storm surges, rising sea levels, increased tides and more than two or three inches of rainfall per hour, it’s absolutely crucial for Florida boat owners to plan ahead. Follow these tips from your local Florida boat insurance provider, HH Insurance, to ensure you and your watercraft are prepared in case of emergency.

Storage

The best predictor of whether your boat will survive a hurricane is where it’s kept. As stated before, hurricanes can have brutal impacts on the coast, making the decision on where and how to store your boat a pertinent one. Boats that are trailered ashore tend to experience significantly lower damages than boats left in the water. Florida boat insurance providers recommend to do the following for storage during a storm:

If you plan to store your boat on dry land, trailer your vessel as far inland as possible to ensure you are well above the anticipated storm surge. Secure your boat in an area that is free from trees, powerlines, and other tall objects that are susceptible to falling. Place jack stands underneath the boat along areas of the hull that are reinforced by a bulkhead to withstand the force of the wind. If the jacks are on soft land, consider placing pieces of plywood under the stands for additional support. Lastly, chain the jacks together as this will prevent them from spreading apart and remove the drain plug.

If you can not take your boat ashore, do not use a boat lift. Elevated in a lift, your boat has a lot of surface area which will greatly increase the wind force on the piles. This leaves a larger chance for your boat to be damaged by debris and could cause your lift to collapse. Instead, leave your boat in the water and tie up to a dock. Know the type of dock (fixed or floating) you are going to be using. When tying up to a floating dock, take note of the height of the pilings to ensure they are taller than the anticipated storm surge. If you are docking your boat to a fixed dock, position the bow in the direction of the prevailing winds. Ensure your dock lines are sturdy and long enough to allow your boat to float with the water level during a storm surge. Apply extra fenders to protect the sides of the boat from hitting the pier and wrap protective covering wherever the ropes touch the boat to prevent chafing.

In a situation where you must anchor during a hurricane, secure your boat with at least two anchors, one off the bow and one on the stern, and position the bow in the direction of the prevailing winds. Ensure the anchor’s ropes are sturdy and leave 10 times the water depth in the line to counteract the effects of a storm surge. Check your bilge pump and ensure it’s operating properly.

Preparation on Board

Regardless of whether your boat is stored on land or in the water, you should remove all items that are not permanently fastened to the boat including covers, dodgers, canvas, and any gear stored on deck. Tie down anything that can’t be removed, such as tillers, wheels, and booms. Wrap protective covering wherever the ropes touch the boat to prevent chafing. Seal off all windows, doors, and hatches, and make sure to shut off your boat’s fuel lines. Store all removed items in a safe place such as a garage or storage unit, and ensure all batteries are fully charged. Capture photos of your vessel and gather other essential documents to have on hand for a Florida boat insurance claim if needed.

Review Your Boat Insurance Florida

Once your boat has been properly stored and prepped, ensure your assets are covered with sufficient boat insurance Florida from HH Insurance. While some providers and policies may have hidden exclusions and conditions, our marine insurance Florida is there to protect your valuables when it is needed the most.

HH Insurance | Florida Boat Insurance

No matter the power of a hurricane, a responsible boat owner shouldn’t face a natural disaster alone. Entrust HH Insurance and our team of credible boat insurance Florida providers to protect your vessel this hurricane season. Looking to protect more than just your watercraft? HH Insurance also offers the most affordable homeowners insurance in Florida, rental property insurance Florida, the best flood insurance in Florida, and more.