For many boaters, the beginning of June means wonderful things, including the beginning of the summer boating season. But for boaters on the East Coast and Gulf Coast, it also means something not so wonderful: the official start of the hurricane season.
Hurricane season in the eastern U.S. runs from the beginning of June through the end of November. And this year, thanks to the likelihood of the El Nino weather pattern transitioning into La Nina, experts are warning that this season could be the most active hurricane season in several years.
Here are a few tips to help you safely navigate this hurricane season.
- Hurricanes are notoriously unpredictable. Even if an approaching storm looks like it is going to miss you, take precautions. And make sure you have access to the latest forecasts.
- If you can pull your boat out of the water and head inland, do it and do it early. It will get you away from the storm, and acting early will mean you aren’t scrambling chaotically at the last minute with everyone else.
- If you’ve trailered your boat inland, but it isn’t in a garage or other enclosed storage, make sure it is shielded from falling tree limbs and other debris.
- If you can’t head inland, prepare your boat for the storm by removing any loose items, such as cushions, chairs, loose appliances, coolers – anything that could fall off the boat if it gets knocked around.
- Make sure to take your boat’s insurance policy and any other boat documents off the vessel.
- Document the condition of your boat before the storm by taking photos and video of your vessel and gear.
- Surround your boat with extra fenders, old tires, anything that can be used to cushion the boat from impact. Use way more than you normally would.
- Make sure your windows, doors, portholes and hatches are all 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.
- Never try to ride out the storm. Hurricanes are immensely dangerous. Your boat may be in danger while it is tied up during the storm, but it would be in far more danger – as would you – at sea.