Be Prepared For Winter
Tips for storing your boat safely on land or at sea
Since the stormy season is coming it is a good idea to go over some possible solutions to safely storing your boat during a storm. Protecting your personal watercraft from storm damage both on the water and on land is paramount, and although the size of your vessel will play a major part in what you can and cannot do to protect your property from an approaching storm, here are a few ideas that might be beneficial to you.
If Your Boat Must Stay On Water
DRY DOCK: You can have the marina place your vessel in dry dock, in a secure boat hangar. If this is your intention, make sure your arrangements are made far enough in advance to get your boat secured safely before a storm arrives.
BERTH: You can berth at a dock with sturdy pilings that offers reasonable shelter from water and storm surge. Double all mooring lines, but remember to leave enough slack to allow for rising water. Crossing spring lines should be rigged fore and aft and secured high on pilings. All rough points should be wrapped with tape, rags or rubber hose to prevent chafing and breakage. Install extra fenders to protect your boat from rubbing against the pier or other boats.
ANCHOR: You can anchor your boat in a protected harbour with a bottom that allows a good anchor hold. You would need heavy anchors for this option; however, your boat can more easily respond to changes in the wind and water this way without the danger of striking docks or other boats. Three points of contact with the harbor bottom are recommended for anchoring in this manner.
If your boat can be easily removed from the water on short notice, the options for an approaching storm are much more simple.
Protecting Your Boat Out of the Water
INDOOR STORAGE: Your boat will be better protected from wind damage and flying objects if it is stored on its trailer inside your garage or shed.
SECURE IT OUTSIDE: If you must store your boat outside during a storm, be sure to strap it securely to its trailer and cover it. Not only will a cover help protect it from falling or flying objects, but it also prevents sun, rain and wind abrasion damage. Secure your trailer to a solid foundation, if possible, and let out at least half of the air in the tires.
TRIM FOLIAGE: Trim back large, dead or dying trees and branches that could fall on your watercraft storage space in a strong storm.
Tips For Everyone
No matter where or how you secure your boat during a storm, you should always remove all movable equipment and gear. If it cannot be removed, it needs to be secured to the boat. Anything that can come loose in a storm should be removed or secured. You can also seal windows, doors, and hatches with duct tape to enhance the watertight integrity of your boat.
With a bit of preparation, you can greatly increase the chances of your boat surviving the hurricane season and providing you with many more years of fun and enjoyment on the waves!