How Boaters Should Prepare for Hurricane Season

The arrival of summer also means the arrival of hurricane season. The National Weather Service reminds boaters to always monitor the weather and be prepared for emergencies.

Along the East Coast, hurricane season runs from June through the end of November. Here in the Northeast, we don’t get hurricanes too often, but when we do, the hurricanes and tropical storms can move fast, unpredictably, and cause a tremendous amount of damage. That’s why the United States Coast Guard urges boaters to be prepared to act quickly.

Of course, the best option to stay at port during a storm, but its unpredictability may need you to think quick on your feet.

Hurricanes are extremely unpredictable. Even when an approaching storm looks like it will miss your area, you should still take precautions. With advance notice, there are some safety tips to take into consideration:Hurricane season.png

  • If you can, pull your boat out of the water early and head inland to get away from the storm. Acting early means you aren’t scrambling at the last minute with everyone else.
  • If you can’t head inland, prepare your vessel by removing any loose items that could fall off the boat.
  • Surround your boat with extra fenders to cushion the boat from impact.
  • Remove your boat’s insurance policy and any other important documents from the vessel.
  • Take photos and video of your vessel and gear to document your boat’s condition prior to the storm.
  • Make sure all windows, doors, portholes and hatches are secured and watertight.
  • Drop anchors fore and aft, and make sure they’re secure. Double all your lines, setting up crossing spring lines fore and aft. Lines should be secured high on pilings to account for storm and tidal surges.

Stuck in the storm?

While it is recommended that you do not ride out a storm, the nature of a hurricane is unpredictable and there is a chance you might get stuck. When you have to ride out a storm at sea:

  • Keep the bow into the seas to maintain steerage
  • Take care of your top. You may need to lower your top to reduce wind and maintain control
  • Prepare for lightning strikes and the loss of electronics.
  • Have an emergency plan in case a storm disables your ship
    • File a float plan in case the Coast Guard needs to find you
    • Have a life raft on board for an emergency evacuation
    • Always pack a ditch kit with necessary survival equipment

With such sophisticated weather readings, odds are you won’t be stuck in a hurricane, but while you’re out fishing the canyons, bad weather can roll in. Preparation is key to your safety.

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