Weather experts predict another above-average hurricane season in 2021. Where will you keep your boat should a storm hit?
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, predicts another above-average hurricane season with 17 named storms, eight hurricanes, and four major hurricanes. The season starts on June 1 and goes through November 30, with the peak of storms affecting Florida in August and September.
Last year was a busy season, with a record 11 storms making landfall in the U.S., including six hurricanes. No matter the prediction, it is essential to have a hurricane preparedness plan, and a location to keep your boat should a storm hit your area.
The Best Place To Keep Your Boat During a Hurricane in Miami
Most boating experts would agree that the best place to keep your boat during a hurricane is an indoor dry storage facility like our friends at North Beach Marina or any dry inland location away from tidal surges and strong winds. If you cannot remove your boat from the water, the next best option is to look for shelter in a canal or “hurricane hole” with land protection on all sides and secure your boat to a boat lift or dock using strong lines with plenty of slack to account for the tidal rise.
When moving your boat inland, you will want to check the condition of your boat’s trailer to make sure it’s working correctly, as it is your best option to transport your boat away from the storm to a more sheltered location. We always recommend inspecting your trailer tires and bearings now to make sure you’re not scrambling to make repairs as a storm approaches.
Top Ten Hurricane Season Boat Preparation Tips
- Create a Hurricane Plan for Your Boat
- Secure In-Door Boat Storage
- Update Your Boats Insurance Policy
- Move Your Boat to Dry Land
- Secure Your Boat to a Trailer with Tie Down Straps
- Remove All Loose Items
- Seal the Openings
- Remove Drain Plugs to Let Excess Rain Water Drain Out
- Inspect the Bilge Pumps & Float Switches to Make Sure They’re Working Properly
- Check Your Boat’s Trailer to Ensure it’s Working Properly
Contact Us for Help
At Happy Trailer Storage, we’ve seen our fair share of hurricanes over the years and are here to help you prepare. For more information on where to keep your boat during the hurricane season contact us at 786-728-9988 click here.
How to Protect Your Boat from Damage During the 2020 Hurricane Season: June 1 – November 30
While we may be a bit fatigued from preparing for the unknown, Florida’s hurricane season runs June 1st – November 30th, with the peak of the season in August and September. This is the sixth year in a row that a tropical depression has formed before the official start of hurricane season, kicking off what experts predict will be an active season.
Both the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) hurricane researchers are predicting an above-average Atlantic hurricane season in 2020, with the likely absence of El Niño as a primary factor. Tropical and subtropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures are also warmer than usual, a factor supporting an active hurricane season ahead. The Weather Company calls for 18 named storms, 9 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes.
As many south Florida boaters know from experience that it only takes one storm to cause complete destruction- so now is the best time to prepare your boat for a potential hurricane.
Top 10 Hurricane Season Boat Preparation Tips
Create a Hurricane Plan for Your Boat
The first step in preparing for hurricane season is to create a hurricane plan well before a storm approaches. When formulating a hurricane plan, always keep in mind that life comes before property. Customers are our key priority, so to ensure your safety we strongly encourage that you heed all evacuation notices issued by your local county emergency management office regardless of the vulnerability of your boat.
Know Your Boat Insurance Policy
Secure all of your important boat documents in an easily accessible location on dry land and make sure your insurance policy is up-to-date. Become familiar with your policy and contact your provider prior to a storm if you have any questions. To help with claims, take photos and videos of your boat before and after to show proof of damages, and inventory all equipment on your boat.
Get to Boat on Dry Land
The best place to store your boat during a hurricane is indoors at a dry boat storage facility, like NorthBeach Marina. If you do not have access to indoor dry storage, smaller boats under 35-feet can be safely stored on land. Whether the boat is on a trailer, next to your house, or at a dry storage parking like Happy Trailer Storage Facility, boats that are stored dry typically see less damage than those left in the water during a hurricane. Be sure to store the boat on high ground to avoid flooding and place additional jack stands along with areas of the hull that are reinforced by bulkheads. Place pieces of plywood under the stands to prevent them from sinking into the ground, and chain together jack stands to prevent them from spreading apart.
Securing Your Boat on a Trailer
Tying your boat to its trailer helps prevent it from floating away in the storm surge or flooding a hurricane brings. If you’re keeping it on a trailer outside, choose a location away from trees and electricity poles, preferably next to a building or other structure that provides a shield from the wind. Place blocks beneath the frame on either side of the wheels, and deflate the tires. Tie the boat to the trailer and secure the boat to ground the best you can.
Remove and Secure Items to Reduce Wind Damage
If you leave the boat outside during a storm, remove anything that has the potential to fly off, like covers, especially if they are expensive or custom-made. Even if the storm does not damage your boat, it is likely that your canvas will be damaged or destroyed by wind, the strain from rain collecting, or by flying debris. Boats are made to get wet, so leave it uncovered during a storm.
We also recommend that you take anything above and below deck off the boat if it is not waterproof, or if it 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. To prevent chafing, wrap protective covering around your lines wherever the ropes touch the boat. Fully charge batteries in case the bilge pump has to work overtime, and shut off fuel lines.
Seal all openings (hatches, cabinets, doors, etc.) on the boat to keep it watertight. To help keep things secure during a storm, use duct tape for an easy remedy.
Remove Drain Plugs
If you are storing your boat on dry land, remove the drain plugs. Marinas typically do this when storing. If the boat fills up with water, the added weight can negatively affect the way it sits on your trailer or dry-rack. Just remember to put the plug back in before using the boat.
Inspect the Bilge Pumps & Float Switches
Make sure your bilge pumps and bilge float switches are working and are hard-wired to your batteries. If your boat is on a lift, make sure the lift is in good working order and lift your boat higher than normal.
Securing Your Boat to at Lift
Boats on lifts are more susceptible to damage in a serious storm due to collapsing lifts, flooding, being blown off cradles, etc. If you must leave your boat on a lift, raise your boat as high as the lift allows but do not secure the boat to the lift. Secure long ropes to anchor points (do not secure to floating docks, use pilings) in case the surge lifts the boat off the lift.
Securing Your Boat to a Dock
Boats tied to docks are at greater risk than boats kept at moorings or on anchors since they suffer more windage. If you have no other option but to dock your boat, make sure your dock is in good shape and make any necessary improvements to ensure it holds up during the storm. As crunch time approaches, double or triple tie your boat to the dock. Adjust all lines to account for tide surges, the wind, and rain, and ensure each line has adequate chafe protection on the boat and at the dock cleats. Also, use buoys and fenders to protect from impact against floating debris, the dock, and seawall.
Final Advice for the Hurricane Season in South Florida
Evidence shows that boats stored on land fare better on average in a hurricane compared to boats kept in the water. If you plan on hauling your boat, coordinate in advance with your marina. Don’t wait until three days before the storm to try and secure your boat. Be prepared and stay safe.
Should you need assistance preparing your boat for the hurricane season, call us at 786-728-9988.