While there are no perfect ways to prepare boats for a hurricane that will ensure they will not absorb damage, there are a number of minor precautions that a boat owner can take that will hopefully keep hurricane damage to a minimum. To prepare boats for a hurricane requires that every aspect of possible damage from wind, water and collision be tended to in the most thorough manner available in order to protect what is usually a sizable financial investment from ruin. Even a category 1 hurricane has the ability to inflict severe damage on boats that are improperly prepared, and boat owners need to take a proactive stance to secure their vessel adequately in the face of nature’s fury.
The best way to prepare boats for a hurricane is to get them out of harm’s way as far in advance of the storm as is possible. An evacuation plan for a boat needs to be established long before hurricane season rolls around, including several backup plans in case the primary plan is flawed. This requires moving a boat to an inland storage area several days prior to a hurricane making landfall, and either docking the boat on a river or canal or removing the boat from the water. One of the most common reasons for hurricane damage to boats is due to owner negligence in not preparing far enough in advance, and then rushing to secure the boat haphazardly as the storm arrives. A boat owner should allow themselves at least 48 to 72 hours before a hurricane strikes to prepare boats for a hurricane.
Even after a boat has been relocated to a safer environment inland, there is still much work to be done to prepare boats for a hurricane that requires an expenditure of both labor and money. Items that need to be purchased to prepare for a hurricane include a storm anchor or at least a few smaller anchors, 500 to 800 feet of rope to tie a boat securely, and a hundred feet or so of garden hose. Anchors should be set at diverse positions around the boat with double rope applied to each, with a piece of garden hose to protect the rope from fraying at points where it may rub against boat hardware.
To prepare boats for a hurricane all windows and hatches should be sealed with tape to prevent water from entering the boat, and the deck should be cleared of gear including sails, rafts and dinghies. Lastly, to prepare boats for a hurricane requires that all documentation relating to the boat such as registration and insurance papers be stored in secure location away from the craft in case the worst scenario occurs.