1. Stay informed: Monitor weather reports from reliable sources, such as the National Hurricane Center (NHC) and local authorities. Pay attention to storm tracks, intensity, and any evacuation orders or advisories.
  2. Create a communication plan: Establish a communication system with other boat owners and marina staff. Exchange contact information and discuss emergency protocols. Designate a primary and backup point of contact outside the hurricane-affected area.
  3. Develop an evacuation plan: Determine your evacuation route and know where nearby hurricane shelters are located. Create a checklist of items to take with you when evacuating, including important documents, emergency supplies, and personal belongings.
  4. Secure your boat: If time allows, take your boat out of the water and transport it to a safe location away from the storm’s path. If you can’t remove your boat, secure it properly in its slip or on a trailer. Follow these guidelines:
  • Double-check mooring lines and ensure they are in good condition. Use extra lines and spring lines to provide additional stability.
  • Remove all loose items from the boat, including canvas covers, sails, and bimini tops. Store them securely.
  • Close and secure all hatches, windows, and doors.
  • Install fenders to protect your boat from rubbing against the dock or other vessels.
  • Consider using chafing gear on lines to prevent friction and damage.
  • Ensure your bilge pumps are operational, and batteries are charged.
  • Fill your fuel tanks to reduce the risk of contamination in case of damage or fuel shortages after the storm.
  • Install storm shutters or protective covers on windows if available.
  1. Gather emergency supplies: Prepare an emergency kit with essential supplies to sustain you and your family during and after the hurricane. The kit should include:
  • Non-perishable food items and a manual can opener
  • Bottled water (at least one gallon per person per day for a minimum of three days)
  • Medications and a first aid kit
  • Flashlights, extra batteries, and a portable battery-operated radio
  • Personal hygiene items and sanitation supplies
  • Cash, as ATMs may not function after the storm
  • Important documents (e.g., identification, insurance policies, boat registration, and proof of ownership) in a waterproof container or stored digitally.
  1. Protect the marina and surroundings: If the marina allows it, participate in marina-wide preparations to secure the area. This may include:
  • Removing or securing loose debris and objects that may become projectiles during high winds.
  • Clearing gutters, drains, and downspouts to prevent water accumulation.
  • Securing or moving any outdoor furniture, signage, or equipment.
  • Coordinating with marina management to implement additional safety measures.
  1. Follow evacuation orders: If local authorities issue evacuation orders for your area, it’s crucial to comply promptly. Your safety should always be the top priority.
  2. After the storm: Once the hurricane has passed and authorities declare it safe to return, exercise caution. Assess the condition of your boat and the marina before reoccupying the area. Be aware of potential hazards such as downed power lines, debris, or damaged structures.

Remember, this plan is a general guideline, and you should tailor it to your specific circumstances and marina regulations. Stay updated with the latest information and follow the instructions of local authorities to ensure your safety during hurricane events.