that’s not your plan, marina personnel will
be preoccupied with hauling and preparing
boats, hardware stores and chandleries will
be overrun, and roads will be clogged with
people leaving the area.
At the latest, you should start your preparations when a hurricane watch is issued,
which happens 48 hours in advance of the
predicted start of tropical storm-force winds,
even though tropical storm-force winds in
your area are only probable. Depending on
what your plan is, take steps that will reduce
preparation time if and when a warning is
issued. That might mean making sure the
trailer is ready to roll and getting the boat
on it if it’s stored on a lift or at a marina,
doubling all the lines if you’re leaving the
boat in the water, or stripping all the canvas
off the boat.
If you need to move the boat, or if your
preparations could take several days, you
may have to start even earlier. Keeping track
of any storm that’s active in the Atlantic Basin
can give you several more days of warning
and will mean that a watch issued in your
area will never come as a surprise. Sign up
at www.BoatUS.com/Hurricanes to get hur-
ricane alerts sent directly to your inbox.
WHO WILL PREPARE YOUR BOAT?
Are you going to do all the work yourself?
Or is the marina responsible for hauling the
boat, after which you’ll strip the canvas and
make sure everything’s watertight? Or do
you have a professional who does all of the
preparation for you? Whatever you decide,
make sure that your written hurricane plan
spells out who’s responsible for what and
that nothing is left undone.
If you plan to leave your boat in a marina,
ask for a copy of the marina’s hurricane plan.
Will the marina call you when a hurricane is
approaching and when there’s a watch, or
will it wait until a warning is issued? What are
the marina’s responsibilities, and what does
the staff consider to be your responsibilities?
If your plan calls for the boat to be stored
on the hard, is there any guarantee that your
boat will be hauled? What happens if it isn’t?
When will you be notified? Understanding
the marina’s hurricane plan is critical to put-
ting together your own.
WHAT WILL SMART
No matter where you’re going to store your
boat during a hurricane, you’ll need to strip
all the canvas from it and make sure that it’s
watertight. Beyond that, your exact preparations will depend upon whether the boat is
being stored on its trailer, on the hard, in a slip,
at anchor, or on a mooring, or somewhere else.
For more information, and to download
the BoatU.S. 16-page hurricane brochure,
“Preparing Boats and Marinas for Hurricanes.”
go to www.BoatUS.com/Hurricanes.
With a hurricane, there can be no guarantees, but experience shows that with prior
proper planning, your boat’s much more
likely to make it through the storm.
Beth A. Leonard spent 10 years cruising the
world on her 47-foot sailboat with her husband
and dodged several hurricanes along the way.
Read about the lessons we learned
from Sandy and preparations that
saved some members’ boats, online