How to Prepare Boats for Storms and Hurricanes
FWC reminds boaters to prepare vessels in case of severe weather
When a tropical storm or hurricane affects our state, Florida’s boat owners and operators have more to be concerned about than just their homes and families. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has gathered the following informational resources to help boaters prepare for storms and be better able to deal with the aftermath. Visit the BoatUS Hurricane Resource Center and University of Florida websites for additional resources.
To help prepare for storms, Move your vessel if you can and protect it if you can’t.
- If your boat can be trailered, haul it out of the water and move it to a safe location as far from tidal waters as possible.
- If your vessel must stay in a marina berth, double all lines and rig-cross spring lines fore and aft, and attach lines high on pilings to allow for tidal rise or surge.
- If your vessel is at anchor, move to the most protected area possible and set out multiple anchors with at least a 10:1 scope, remove canvas coverings if possible and remove or secure any sails.
- If your vessel will remain on a mooring, make sure the mooring is designed to withstand the load that will be placed on it by your vessel. Inspect chains and swivels that connect to the mooring buoy and double up on the mooring pendant.
- Use the Florida Boat Ramp Finder to find a ramp near you.
To help prepare your boat for storms, Cover all lines to prevent chafing.
- Wrap all lines where lines feed through chocks with tape, rags and rubber hoses or leather. Install fenders, fender boards or tires to protect the boat from rubbing against the pier, pilings or other boats.
To help prepare your vessel for storms, Charge batteries and make sure they can run automatic bilge pumps throughout the storm.
- Consider adding backup batteries and shut off all other devices that consume electricity.
Do not stay onboard.
- During a hurricane, winds can exceed 100 mph and tornadoes are often associated with these storms. If you’re on board during a bad storm, you are risking your life.
- Learn what Florida law says about mandatory marina evacuations. Chapter 327.59, F.S., Marina Evacuations.
Monitor weather broadcasts frequently and comply with evacuation orders when issued.
After the storm, report issues to the FWC.
- Marina eligibility for disaster relief through Small Business Administration loans. SBA Disaster Assistance.
- Reporting missing and/or damaged waterway markers.
- Report storm damaged boats that might be lost or abandoned to your local law enforcement agency (preferred) or the FWC Division of Law Enforcement at 888-404-3922.
For more information visit MyFWC.com/boating and click on the “Hurricane Boating Preparedness Tips” slider.