All boaters and sailors need to know how to secure a boat in a hurricane. Here’s why: A hurricane is an extreme weather phenomenon that can hit an entire region and cause a lot of damage. No place is safe from a hurricane, but how do you protect your sailboat from damage?
What Exactly Is A Hurricane?
A hurricane is a big area of low pressure that forms over huge bodies of warm ocean water. This hurricane has warm temperature to sustain itself, like the sun, and it’s the same effect as a heat lamp. The big winds blowing around in the storm are like the power cord that keeps this storm spinning on over the water.
What Does A Hurricane Look Like?
A hurricane looks just like a tornado from above with high winds spinning in circles, pulling up water from the ocean into a spiral or funnel shape. It’s always black at the center because it’s moving fast and sucking all of the heat up to cool off its spiraling motion, just like when you lift your arm up fast to make your hand turn red from friction.
How to Secure Your Boat For A Hurricane
Thankfully, there are some simple steps you can take to protect your sailboat from the destructive power of a hurricane.
Step One: Prepare your boat
If you have a powerboat, it could be a good idea to put it in storage before a hurricane hits. It would be very difficult to remove the anchor from the water to keep from being dragged out to sea. If you must leave your boat, tie it up securely and make sure all lines are in good condition and will hold for as long as possible.
If your sailboat is not stored inside, here are some tips on how to secure it:
Remove all loose items from your boat.
Get off the boat, and if possible, get it in a dry dock. You may be able to move the boat onto pavement or solid land, but only if it is not too windy or stormy outside. Be sure the winds are not so strong that they will tear your sailboat from its mooring or sink it.
If you can’t put your sailboat in a dry dock, try to remove all of the things that could fly around the deck and cause damage during a storm. Take down any sails and secure them with ropes. Tie down any equipment sitting on the deck of your boat with heavy-duty lines, nets, or straps. Make sure all of your lines are secure and that you have the right length.
Find a secured place to tie up your boat. Put your sailboat in a protected location, such as a marina or boatyard, or a closed-in trailer or shed. Be sure you don’t put it in an area where high winds could get under the deck and lift it up in the air, tipping over the side. If possible, position your boat so that it will be sheltered from wind and waves, but not so close to any trees or structures that could be destroyed by high winds. Never put your sailboat in any kind of structure that is not solidly built.
Step Two: Secure the hull of the boat
After you have secured your boat near land, trim all sails and make sure winches are tightly secured. Always secure loose gear on deck first. If there is a possibility of getting the sailboat into a marina or other secure place, push it off to one side if possible.
Step Three: Lower the sail
If you have a roller furling sail, get it down. Then secure the halyards to the boom. Make sure they are not under any kind of strain that could cause them to break. If you do not have a roller furling sail, get the mainsail down as quickly as possible and tie off the halyard to prevent it from being blown away by strong winds.
Step Four: Prepare your lines
Prepare all of your lines before they are needed. You can use nylon line if you need something quick and easy. Make sure the lines on your boat are in good condition and will hold if necessary.
Step Five: Secure your fridge and other essential items
If you have a fridge on your sailboat, prepare it right away. Make sure it is off and unplugged, and that there is no gas leak in the boat. If you have a freezer, secure it to something so that it doesn’t blow away or get thrown around by strong winds.
Step Six: Secure all loose surfaces
There are many things on your boat that could be blown around during a hurricane, damaging or breaking everything in sight. You can secure them with ropes or straps so they will not be blown off of the boat by high winds. Tie down any sails or other equipment you have out on the deck. Secure anything that could be thrown around inside of the boat as well.
Step Seven: Check for damage after the storm
After the storm, check your sailboat for damage. You may need to call a local marina for help with this. Report any kind of damage or loss immediately and file a claim with your insurance company. You may also be able to submit a claim with your home insurance company if you have property elsewhere that has been damaged by a hurricane.
Step Eight: Do not use your boat before you have it checked out by a professional
If possible, wait to use your boat until it has been checked by a marine surveyor. This person will look for any kind of damage that can be easily repaired, and give you an estimate of the cost it will take to get your sailboat back into decent condition. If there is serious damage to your boat, it may be better to invest in a new one if necessary.
Final thoughts on securing your boat in a storm:
World Sailing Charters never messes with strong storms of any kind!
Hurricane season is a year-round concern for people with boats, and you can never be too prepared. In addition to the steps to take before a hurricane hits, you should keep your boat properly maintained at all times. Proper care of your sailboat will make it easier for you to get it back into decent shape after a hurricane passes through your area.