With storms like Hurricane Sandy, many boat owners find themselves unprepared for the amount of damage a storm can actually bring. Destroying over 65,000 recreational boats, it is clear Central Florida hurricanes can pack quite a punch. It is always important for boat owners to remain ready, both during hurricane season and off season, as storms can happen unexpectedly and at any time throughout the year. In the event of a named storm, how should you prepare your boat in a marina in case of a hurricane?

Here’s Some Useful Tips on How Owners of Boats in a Marina Should Prepare for a Hurricane.


1. Remove All Loose Gear On and Around Your Boat.


In a Category 3 storm, like Hurricane Sandy, storms can reach up to 130 Miles Per Hour. Although a strong wind can cause quite a bit of damage, debris picked up by the wind may also end up causing a hefty amount of damage on its own. One of the many ways that owners of boats in a marina should prepare for a hurricane is by taking some time to do a thorough check of their boat’s deck, as well as what is surrounding their boat. Any spare items laying around your boat, with the added strength of hurricane winds, can easily become a boater’s worst nightmare.


2. Top Off All Fueling Tanks and Pump Out Holding Tanks.

Hurricanes are known for their brute strength and raw power, but they are also known for providing a lack of power. Long-term, widespread power outages can often be found where a hurricane has recently carved its path, and it is important to prepare ahead of time for these moments left in the dark. During a power outage, it is common for fuel pumps to become unoperational.  Marina residents should prepare for a hurricane by having a full tank of gas and perhaps stocking up on even more. Having fuel is not only important in the case of an emergency, but also in the case of needing to temporarily relocate due to a long term power outage. You should also speak to your marina staff about pump out options for holding tanks.


3. Leave Slack by Doubling Up Mooring Lines.

If a boat is not in a dry rack storage facility or storage yard, and instead kept in the water on a wet slip, leaving slack by doubling up mooring lines can be extremely beneficial when it comes to preventing storm related damages. 


4. Remove Sails and Any Canvas that Can Shred in High Winds.

Just like damage from debris, the wind itself during a hurricane can often cause its own damage. Hurricane strength winds can range anywhere from 74 Miles Per Hour to 155+, so removing any delicate items from your boat such as sails or canvas is an important step that owners of a boat in a marina preparing for a hurricane should take.


5. Communicate with Marina Staff.

Communicating with marina staff is an important step owners of a boat in a marina preparing for a hurricane should take. Certain precautionary measures may be unique to each marina, and it is important to take note of them before the storm hits. Harbortown Marina – Canaveral is a naturally protected harbor, meaning it is not usually subject to mandatory evacuations. However, in the event of an evacuation, all power will be cut off to the marina. It is important that even if a boat owner does not expect to remove their boat from the marina, they remain prepared to do so, as finding the supplies needed during a loss of power will be difficult.


If you live in Florida, like the residents of Harbortown Marina – Canaveral, it may be easy to call yourself an experienced hurricane survivalist. With over 40% of all hurricanes hitting Florida, hurricane evacuations have become a tried and true method with a high success rate, as long as the rules are followed. A named storm should always be taken seriously as storms are unpredictable, and you never know when a change in path or an increase in strength may occur.

If you feel you are currently unprepared on what to do in the event of a hurricane, contact your marina staff or see if their website has any hurricane resources like the hurricane section of the Harbortown Marina – Canaveral Captain’s blog, where you can find Infographics, boat storage tips, and more!