Don’t let this hurricane season
take the wind out of your boating fun. Between
June 1 and November 30, boaters should keep tuned
into weather events and
plan ahead to secure their vessels.
But even the most rigorous protective
measures will not guarantee that your boat will
survive a storm. These actions will certainly help
lessen damages to your vessel and lead the way
to smooth sailing through the upcoming hurricane
- Always keep your watercraft in good
condition. Be sure that all systems are functioning.
- Review your insurance policies and keep them
- Keep batteries fully charged and make certain
bilge pumps are fully operational.
- Create a hurricane plan for your boat. Be sure
to file a copy of the plan with your marina operator.
- Take photographs of your boat, write a description
along with an inventory and put them with your
- Write up a checklist of actions to take if
a hurricane or tropical storm develops. Begin
implementing your hurricane checklist when a
Hurricane Watch is issued by the National Hurricane
Center. Don’t wait for a Hurricane Warning
or evacuation order to act.
- Purchase and stow mooring line to use in the
event of a hurricane. As a general
rule, line should be twice the diameter of your
- Talk with your marina about their hurricane
plans and how to protect your boat.
- Remove all loose items on deck including bimini
tops, plastic side enclosures, sails and dinghies.
Store them on land. Store small, loose items
below deck, including antennas.
- Shut off fuel lines at the tank and close through
Keeping Your Trailerable
Boat High And Dry On Shore:
Remove your boat and trailer from the water
and take it to a safe location on dry land.
- Partially fill your boat with water to provide
extra weight and stability. Be sure the water
does not touch the engine or batteries.
- Put wooden blocks between the trailer frame
and the springs for extra support with the added
- Store the boat and trailer unit in a secure,
covered building, such as your garage, if possible.
- Secure the unit to the ground using ground
hooks and straps, if left outside.
Boats Left On Water Need
If your boat will be moored
- Secure all hatches and doors, and tape all
windows from the inside.
- Double up on mooring lines as well as spring
lines to secure the boat in its mooring.
- Use several cleats to distribute the load
on the boat.
- Allow as much line as possible for tide and
- Attach chafing gear, such as reinforced radiator
hose, where lines will rub. Provide several feet
of chafing hose on each side of rub locations.
- Disconnect electric, water and other connections
- Remove all electronics and valuables to prevent
destruction or theft.
If your boat will be anchored
- Anchoring your boat on the lee side of protective
land rather than mooring to a dock might be a
- Use two anchors and no stern anchor.
- Use anchors that are either Danforth or Yachtman
plow types. Line length should be at least six
to nine times the depth of the water to compensate
for possible storm surge and swing.
- Use chafing gear.
- When making preparations, remember that the
position of the boat may change drastically as
the storm passes and winds shift.
Suitable places to anchor
- Up river as far as possible
- The lee side of Spoils Islands in Tampa Bay
- Riviera Bay, if water depth is sufficient
- Old Tampa Bay, north of the Howard Frankland
Bridge (north of the Courtney Campbell Causeway
is preferred) near the Pinellas coastline
- A sheltered bay, if water depth is sufficient
If you leave your boat on the water,
be sure it is as watertight as possible. Fuel tanks
should be filled and water tanks emptied. Put your
own personal safety first when tying up your boat.
Remember that battening down the
hatches before a hurricane can protect your boat
and set you up for clearer skies ahead.
is not recommended that you stay with your boat
during a hurricane emergency. "Live-aboards"
who elect to remain with their vessel should notify
someone on shore of their intent. Dress in safety
gear (wet suits and flotation devices) and have
a battery-powered radio and distress equipment
available to monitor the storms progress
and signal for assistance if necessary.
Unless your vessel can run fast,
and you have a good head start, do not try to outrun
an approaching storm. Twelve-foot seas can exist
up to 150 miles from the center of the storm system.
The FDOT Pinellas County Bascule
Bridge Hurricane Plan, your guide to moving your
boat to a safe port when tropical winds threaten,
is available from the Pinellas County Department
of Emergency Management. Also check out www.boatsafe.com,
Hurricane Preparation for Boaters.
For more detailed information
on Hurricane planning for boats call:
United States Coast Guard, Marine Safety Office