We don’t have to remind you that hurricane season is just around the corner. It is good practice to go over reminders each year on what you need to do in the event of a hurricane here in Southwest Florida. Even though hurricane season starts June 1, over the years we know that August and September are the highest risk for powerful hurricanes to hit Florida. The main reason for this is the high surface water temperatures of the Atlantic and Gulf basins. Hurricanes produce large amounts of rainfall, storm surge, higher tides and potentially very high winds. Keep in mind these are basic reminders to help you prepare, and your individual method of preparation may be best. The most important item to remember is to ALWAYS HAVE A PLAN before the hurricane arrives.
Before A Hurricane Hits Florida
Preparation and keeping up to date on the weather is the most important. Make sure you check with the National Hurricane Center to keep you updated on critical details on pending storms. You want to make sure your family and home are secure before you prepare to protect your boat. Here are a few items that you should keep on your preparation list:
- Remove detachable items – This includes anything that can be removed and taken to a safe location. This might include sails, dinghies, cushions, radios, coolers and more.
- Emergency Supplies – If you are staying on your boat during a hurricane is safe harbor, make sure you have adequate supplies to last 3-5 days.
- Charging Radios & Phones – Make sure all radios and phones are charged at all times. This way if you loose electricity you will still be able to get reports and contact others if needed.
- Important Documents – Make sure you have all documents relating to boat ownership and insurance in a safe location. Take pictures of your boat and items on the boat in case you need to file a claim.
When A Hurricane Is Heading Toward You
The National Hurricane Center advises the public on intensity, location and projected path of hurricanes. This usually gives 12-24 hours notice which allows authorities to make decision on evacuations as well. This will give you additional notice if you need to secure your boat.
You will want to turn off the electrical system and if practical remove the batteries. If you haven’t already removed items that can be removed, you should at this point. Lashing down and securing anything that can move around will help prevent additional damage. This includes doors, ropes, windows, hatches and more. Make sure you turn off fuel lines as well.
If you decide to leave your vessel in the water in a safe harbor, remember to place at least two anchors with anchor lines at least 10 times the depth of the water. This will help to offset any changes in tide or storm surge.
On dry land, make sure you boat is taken as far away from damaging winds as possible. Secure the boat the the trailer and make sure the trailer wheels are blocked to keep it from moving in the wind.
We hope you never need to worry about protecting your boat, but preparation ahead of time will help you to safeguard your boat for many more years of fun on the water!