In order to get ready for hurricane season I made a checklist of things I need to do. When Hurricane Matthews (2016) and Irma** (2017) approached Florida I was quickly able to do the following:
- Remove jib
- Remove all canvas covers (winch, bimini, compass)
- Remove mainsail
- Remove boom
- Double up all lines, add spring lines and extra lines as needed
- Have chafe protection on lines, add duct tape (make your own from fire hose or old rubber bike tire)
- Drop anchor by mooring
- Remove grill and other items on boat deck
- Take off valuable gear
- Take off gas tanks, generator, refrigerator, inverter, etc.
- Strap down batteries, make sure they are charged for bilge pump
- Put out all fenders
- Tie all halyards off to a common messenger line or away from mast
- Latch all hatches
- Close seacocks
- Plug exhaust
- Use a line snubber on your mooring lines
Use Davis Instruments Secure Removable Adjustable Chafe Secure Guard (PR) to wrap mooring and anchor lines where they go through your chocks. I also wrapped those in duct tape. This is the number one cause of damage. If those lines are weak or unprotected, they will break from the resistance and you will loose your boat.
Use Seachoice EMERGENCY WOOD PLUGS to plug exhaust and other thru-hull areas that don’t have seacocks. This prevents the engine compartment from flooding in the case of serious surge back into the stern.
Take down all sails to minimize wind resistance. Tie off halyards to the side or use a messenger line to run all of them to the top of the mast, the less, the better.
Take down the bimini, jib sheets, dodger, grill and anything on deck that you wouldn’t want to loose. Drop your anchor around your mooring, not directly on it, and cleat off to your bow. There should be 2 lines MAX on each cleat, preferably 1. I take the extra anchor line and tie it to my mast which is keel-stepped (don’t do this to a deck0-stepped mast). Therefore, if my mooring, cleats, and chocks all fail the anchor line attached to my mast may save the boat. This is absolutely the last resort and can really damage the boat but at this point it would either be wash far away or be destroyed anyway . I have heard stories of a 20 pound anchor saving a 30 foot boat. The more you have out the better, space them out (120 degrees is best with 3) and attach at a central point like the bow (again, 2 lines max to a cleat!).
Do you have additional things you do to get your boat ready? I’d love to hear from you so we can all have the best info! Comment below.
**Update: Irma 2017 – My boat’s mooring got yanked up and it was held by the extra anchor I threw out over the bow. She is floating but took a bad beating on the transom. I am replacing the stern rail and have a lot of fiberglass work to do but I am determined to get her back sailing soon.