boat5Every year around now – late summer and fall – boat owners in Texas get a little edgy: it’s hurricane season.  Somewhere along the Gulf Coast a hurricane will come ashore and wreak havoc with homes, boats and people’s lives.  Unfortunately for Florida, it seems to get struck more often but anyone who lives in a coastal state is at risk.  Are you prepared?

More hurricane activity than normal is expected in the next 20 years according to experts than we’ve seen in the past.  Texas has avoided any direct hits and has enjoyed a few storm-free years.  This can be bad in a way – we definitely don’t want another hurricane – because it makes us all a little less leery of a potential storm landing on our coastline and leaves us unprepared.

If you’re a boat lover then you should know by now how to store your boat in preparation and how much it can cost to replace one or to repair one damaged by a hurricane.  If you’re a newbie, here are a few tips for securing your boat in a hurricane by

High-rise storage racks can be toppled by a storm’s high winds. If possible, put your boat on a trailer and take it further inland. A study by MIT after hurricane Gloria found that boats stored ashore were far more likely to be saved than boats stored in the water. For many boat owners and marinas, hauling boats is the foundation of their hurricane plan.

Boats ashore should be stored well above the anticipated storm surge. But even when boats are tipped off jackstands and cradled by rising water, the damage they sustain in a storm tends to be less severe than the damage to boats left in the water.

Windage is also a consideration. If nothing else, reduce windage as much as possible and make sure your boat has extra jackstands, at least three or four on each side for boats under 30’ and five or six for larger boats. The jackstands must be supported by plywood and chained together.

Securing a Boat in the Water

Any boat in the water should be secured in a snug harbor (don’t even think about riding out the storm at sea unless you’re the skipper of an aircraft carrier). Mooring tests have shown the helix anchor has tremendous holding power compared to traditional mushroom and deadweight anchors.

Finally, what is the bottom of the harbor like? If you plan to anchor, check your charts to see how much water your boat will be anchored in.

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