Active hurricane season expected: Tips to prevent boat accidents

July 26th, 2013 - by DKRPA

According to climate scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Florida could be in for quite a hurricane season this year. NOAA has predicted an “active or extremely active” season, with a 70-percent chance that 3 to 6 hurricanes this year will be categorized as Category 3 or stronger — well above the historical average of three Category 3 storms.

If you’ve lived through a Florida hurricane, you know that they require advance planning, and that includes planning for your boats and watercraft. Hurricanes can inflict substantial damage to vessels left on the water and, of course, boating too close to a big storm puts you at risk for catastrophic accidents.

How can you keep your boat secure during a major storm? A major marine insurer recently offered these tips on what to do when an active hurricane is predicted:

  • Never stay aboard during a hurricane.
  • If can secure your boat in a marina, make a detailed plan. If you can’t, move your boat to a previously-identified refuge area or as far as possible out of the storm’s path.
  • In wet storage, double all the lines, with rig-crossing spring lines both fore and aft. Choose the tallest, strongest available pilings and attach the lines securely and high on those pilings in case there are storm surges.
  • Fenders and lines may chafe during the storm, so install fender boards or tires to prevent rubbing against the pier or other vessels. Wrap the lines at rough points and wherever they are fed through chocks.
  • Make sure you have fully charged batteries to run the automatic bilge pumps and completely disconnect any other devices that consume electricity.
  • If you plan to trailer your boat, get it loaded well in advance and move it as far as possible away from the storm’s path.
  • Remove anything you can from the vessel — sails, roof canvases, cushions and dinghies — and lash everything else down.
  • Assemble all needed equipment and supplies and keep them together. Make inventories of what you removed and what you left on board. Mark any valuable items for identification.
  • Collect your insurance policy, registration, any lease agreements you have with marinas or storage facilities, your inventories, and a recent photo of your boat. Keep important phone numbers close at hand, including your insurance claim contact number and those of the Coast Guard and harbor master.

Keeping your boat secure in a hurricane can not only save you money but also prevent a catastrophic accident from the storm itself or from any damage it may leave behind. Let’s all have a safe boating season.


Claims Journal, “Worse Than Usual Hurricane Season Predicted Could Affect Boaters: ACE,” July 23, 2013, “ACE Recreational Marine Insurance Announces Hurricane Safety Tips for Boaters: Climate Experts Predict Worse than Usual Season,” July 22, 2013