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Hurricane Preparation Plan - Anchored Boats

Prep Your Anchored Boat to Weather a Hurricane


Before the start of hurricane season on June 1, have a hurricane preparation plan in place for your boat. An adequate plan will include a hurricane preparation kit and a checklist to follow to make preparing your boat as efficient and quick as possible.

Your boat has the best chance of weathering a hurricane on land. If your boat has a trailer, follow the guidelines for hurricane preparation of trailerable boats. Otherwise, consider having it hauled out instead of anchoring it during the storm.

If anchoring is your only or preferred option, follow the rest of these instructions to prepare your boat at anchor:

Find a hurricane hole.

If a hurricane watch has been issued, and you plan to anchor your boat out, first find a "hurricane hole" that provides a strong anchoring bottom, protection from the wind, and is far enough inland to provide protection from storm surge.

Charge batteries and shut off fuel lines.

Make sure to charge your batteries so bilge pumps will work. Also, shut off fuel lines and close through hull fittings.

Protect your engines.

Water will find a way into every opening, so protect your engine by covering engine room vents and plugging the exhaust pipes at the stern. If the vents are small, you can use duct tape. Otherwise, screw a piece of plywood over the vent and tape over the edges.

Remove, stow or lash down loose deck items.

Preferably, remove deck items, bimini tops, plastic, canvas, and plexiglass from the boat entirely. Take down antennas and remove outriggers. Remove as many items as you can from the boat, and lash down any remaining loose items.

Prepare the interior of the boat.

If your boat has a cabin, take precautions there as well by removing all loose items. Clean out the refrigerator, cabinets, and drawers because they will open with the violent motion of the boat. If possible, remove drapes, cushions, mattresses and other cloth items that will become soaked from leaks.

Protect your electronics and instrument panel.

Remove electronics from the boat and cover both the holes and instrument gauges with plastic and duct tape.

Seal windows, hatches and doorways.

Because wind-driven rain will enter the boat through any crack or crevice, use duct tape to make all openings and seams as watertight as possible.

Anchor your boat.

  • Set two anchors at minimum.

  • Do not use a stern anchor or your boat may be swamped by large waves.

  • Position your boat with it's bow in the direction of the prevailing winds.

  • Use Danforth or Yachtman plow type anchors.

  • Anchor line length should be ten times the depth of the water to compensate for storm surge and swing.

  • Protect your line by using chafing gear at each point that the line meets the boat. Use several feet of garden hose or leather.

  • Keep in mind that it is possible for your boat to "swing" 360 degrees around the anchor, so be sure the water is deep enough to accommodate the boat's draft and that the boat will not come into contact with another object.

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