It's hurricane season. You've probably got a list (even if it's just in your head) of tasks to minimize the damage to your house, car, and family. But what should you be doing to protect your boat?


The cyclone Catarina, which made landfall in March 2004 in Brazil, was the first hurricane observed in the South Atlantic. Note the clockwise rotation. Photo courtesy NASA, from the International Space Station

Well, the answer is... that depends. Where your boat is (on a mooring, in a slip, on a trailer in your yard, at the local marina) will have a big effect on what you should do to make it ready for the next big storm.

Fortunately Doug Logan has written it all down in Hurricane Preparation for Boaters. Here are a few key points:

Strategic thinking

Stay in the water, or haul out? Answer: "While there are always exceptions to the rule, the smart money says to haul your boat if you have time."

Must Dos

  1. Strip off anything removable to reduce windage.

  2. Double and triple your attachment points to docks, moorings, or even trees and telephone poles (depending on your boat's location).

  3. Add chafe gear to any line going through a chock or fairlead.

Should Dos

  1. Remove all valuables, including electronics.

  2. Top up batteries to run bilge pumps

  3. Take photos of prep (for bragging rights, the insurance company, or both).

That's a good start, and here's hoping we won't need these tips this year. Meanwhile, let us know if you've got a question, or another idea to share.