Hurricane Season Predications & Boat Preparation Tips

Is Your Boat Ready for the 2016 Hurricane Season in South Florida?

South Florida is no stranger to devastating hurricanes. However, the Sunshine State has gone a record ten years without a major storm touching the land of a category 3 or higher —the last hurricane being Wilma in October 2005. Have we become too complacent with our decade-long good fortune of near misses? Possibly! That’s why we have compiled a list of hurricane preparation tips and resources for you to consider this year that can help mitigate damage to your boat caused by these storms.

2016 Hurricane Season Predictions

The 2016 Atlantic hurricane season started June 1st and will run until November 30th, with the peak period between early August through the end of October.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has said 2016 will be a “near-normal” hurricane season with 10 to 16 storms that could come hurtling toward the US coast this year. “This is a more challenging hurricane season outlook than most because it’s difficult to determine whether there will be reinforcing or competing climate influences on tropical storm development,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “However, a near-normal prediction for this season suggests we could see more hurricane activity than we’ve seen in the last three years, which were below normal.

Hurricane Season Boat Preparation Tips

The first step in preparing for a hurricane is to create a hurricane plan. When formulating a hurricane plan, you must always keep in mind that “life comes before property”. Riverfront Marina Fort Lauderdale strongly encourages that you heed all evacuation notices issued by your local county emergency management office regardless of the vulnerability of your boat.

Boat Storage & Trailer Tips for Hurricane Season:

  • If you have a smaller boat, somewhere under 35’ feet, it is safest for the boat (and for your mental well-being) to get it out of the water completely. Whether the boat is on a trailer, next to your house, or at a dry storage marina, the boats that are stored dry typically see less damage than those left in the water during a hurricane.
  • Leave the cover off of the boat, especially if it is expensive or custom-made. The cover on the boat will collect rainwater and strain the cover, tearing it in the process. If the cover comes loose during a storm, it will fall victim to the wind, and more than likely get ruined. Your boat was made to get wet, so let it, leave it uncovered during a storm.
  • We recommend that you take anything off the boat that’s not supposed to get wet, or that is light enough to fly away in a heavy wind. This includes (but is not limited to) cushions, dock lines, flags, Bimini tops, and GPS/radios. Make sure to secure anything else that cannot be removed from the boat.
  • Seal all openings on the boat to keep it watertight (hatches, cabinets, doors, etc.). To help keep things secure during a storm, use duct tape for an easy remedy.
  • Keep the drain plugs out of your boat is also a good idea. If the boat fills up with water, the added weight can negatively affect the way it sits on your trailer or dry-rack. Marinas typically keep the drain plugs out, however, if your boat is on a trailer, it’s a good practice to keep the drain plug out. Just remember to put the plug back in before using the boat next!

Boat in the Water

If you have no choice but to leave your boat in the water during a hurricane, try to find a safe harbor to anchor. Once you find a safe place, hopefully, off of the deep water, look around. Are there rocks? Are you near a seawall? Is your boat anchored on a sandy bottom or a rocky ledge? What obstacles can the boat come into contact with during violent winds, storm surges, or if the boat breaks loose from its anchor?

If you are docking your boat make sure your dock is in good shape -make any needed improvements to ensure the dock holds up during the storm. As crunch time approaches, double tie or triple tie your boat to the dock.

Final Tips For This Year’s Hurricane Season

Finally, it is wise to make sure that you have all of your boat documents in an easily accessible location and that the insurance is up to date. Also, to help with insurance claims, keep receipts and take photos or video of your boat.

You can take all the precautions in the world to secure your boat, but Mother Nature sometimes can get the best of us. Make sure you prepare and stay safe.

Important Hurricane Resources for Boaters:

NOAA – National Hurricane Center

Spaghetti Models – Hurricane Tracking

If you have any questions or need help preparing your boat for this year’s hurricane season to contact us at (786) 728-9988.

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