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How to Keep Your Boat Safe During a Hurricane
The destructive power of hurricanes - as we’ve seen during this most recent season - can be truly enormous. Harvey, Irma, and Jose have devastated communities, damaged natural environments, and raised floodwaters to catastrophic levels. Given this havoc, it would seem only natural to think that no boat or small watercraft would be able to survive the storm. The truth, however, is that there are steps you can take in order to give your vessel a fighting chance of riding out even the most horrible hurricanes.
If You Can Move Your Boat
The most obvious way to avoid a hurricane’s impact is to move your boat out of its way. While that’s not always an option, there are certain precautions you can take to give yourself as much time as possible to decide if it is.
Stay Alert, Stay Informed
Meteorological technology has advanced to the point where we often receive warnings of approaching hurricanes a week or more in advance of their actual landfall. What’s more, the hurricane season of the Atlantic Ocean is well-established - from the beginning of June to the end of November, peaking in late August and September - giving you a timeframe in which to be extra vigilant of any adverse weather that may damage your craft. Though meteorologists are not yet able to determine the exact path of a storm, their estimates are often good enough for you to know whether your general area will be at least somewhat affected. The time for you to start making preparations is the instant you hear that a hurricane is coming your way.
The first preparations you must make, however, should come well before hurricane season starts. It’s an excellent idea for anyone who lives in a storm-susceptible area to have an evacuation plan in place, doubly so if you have a boat that needs protecting. Make sure that you and your family are familiar with the plan, and run it as a drill at least once so that everyone is well-versed in its details. Keep your boat stocked with emergency supplies, be sure that its radio is charged, and secure all of your essential documents (not just those related to your vessel) somewhere that can be quickly accessed when it’s time to go.
This level of preparation is necessary in part because of how difficult and time-consuming it can be to move a boat. We strongly recommend that your evacuation plan includes a destination for you to store your vessel and that you reserve your space at said destination as soon as possible. Doing so will likely give you the time you need to gather all detachable items and movable equipment, pull your vessel out of the water, and transport it to its destination.
If You Can’t Move Your Boat
Sometimes even the best forecasts can be lacking; sometimes a storm, despite your best efforts, catches you by surprise. As long as you have some time before landfall, however, there are steps you can take to prepare your vessel and minimize the damage done to it.
Secure and Safeguard
Any equipment within the boat that cannot be removed (such as tillers, wheels, and booms) must be lashed down. Likewise, all windows, doors, and hatches must be sealed and any ropes touching your boat should be wrapped in protective covering to avoid chafing. Remember too that being a responsible boat owner means more than just protecting your own property - it also means looking out for your nautical neighbors and for the health of the body of water in which your boat is docked. That’s why it’s of the utmost importance that you remove your vessel’s battery and shut off its fuel lines, as not doing so could expose the area to damaging environmental hazards.
The Jet Dock Difference
Though conventional wisdom suggests that there are steps you can take to safely store your boat at a marina or traditional dock, the reality is that these environments are often crowded with other vessels (whose owners may not be as responsible in securing their boat as you are) and that the dock or marina’s construction may not be sturdy enough to survive the strongest storms. Thankfully, there’s now a better way - and though there’s a number of reasons why it’s a smart idea to invest a Jet Dock boat lift, perhaps the best is the degree of protection it offers for your vessel.
For one, Jet Dock boat lifts are not affected by rising water levels; because its components are secured to the seafloor, your boat will simply rise and fall with the current without sustaining the damage common to other docking solutions that can’t account for water fluctuations. That ability can be further enhanced through the usage of spring ties, which will allow both your boat and your Jet Dock lift to move freely (but securely) within harsh winds, rising currents, and massive floods.
Secondly, Jet Dock utilizes no electrical parts in its products. That means that there’s no risk of electrical damage done to your vessel if you’re more concerned with getting out of the path of a hurricane than with executing a complicated and time-consuming disconnection process. Finally - and perhaps most importantly - Jet Dock boat lifts can be quickly and easily disassembled, giving you the option to move both it and your vessel out of the path of the storm if you don’t want to take any chances. Not convinced? Take a look at the below pictures to see how a Jet Dock system stands strong after the devastation of hurricane Harvey.
Though hurricanes are to be rightly feared for the devastation they can unleash on our communities, there’s no reason to let that fear paralyze you into not being prepared. Wise investments and timely precautions can go a very long way in ensuring that your vessel stays safe through even the harshest conditions. If you have any questions about hurricane preparedness - or are interested in upgrading your boat lift, check out our dock finder tool and customize your Jet Dock.
Other important safety articles
- Crew overboard prevention and safety tips
- How to use a boat fire extinguisher
- Boating safety tips: Is it safe to take a baby onboard?
- Summer safety tips for boating with dogs
- Boat navigation light safety tips
- 6 safety tips for preparing for storms
- 6 safety tips for boating in a storm
- Boating safety tips and checklist
- 4 ways to improve boating safety
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