Severe Weather Preparedness for Boaters

mature man driving speedboat

Boating is fun way to enjoy the warm temperatures of spring and summer. But it is also an activity that takes place when we tend to have more severe weather. Having a plan and preparing your boat ahead of severe weather will help ensure that you get to enjoy the full boating season.

Common causes of damage during a severe storm

Surge – can lift your boat above its dock & pilings. To avoid your boat bouncing off of the dock, piling or other boat it is important to make sure your dock lines are positioned properly and are of the proper length

Wind – when the wind speeds doubles, the wind pressure quadruples. Reducing your boat’s windage (the amount of area your boat is exposed to the wind) will help reduce or eliminate potential damage to it

Rainfall – if your boat survives heavy waves and wind it is still possible that it can be sunk by torrential rain. The ability of a bilge pump to handle heavy rain is usually overestimated and deck drains and pump discharges can backflow as a result of heavy waves

Where to keep your boat during a storm

Ashore – if you have enough warning and your marina has the ability to store your boat out of the water you can store your boat on proper jacks making sure that you expose as little of the boat as possible to the wind

Docked – before a storm your boat should resemble a spider suspended in the center of its web.  The web (your lines) will allow the boat to be bounced around a bit by the storm without moving out of its position. The rule of thumb for the length of your lines is that they by at least as long as your boat.

Anchor – Standard storm anchors rely on scope (at least 10:1) toincrease holding power with a 50/50 chain to line ratio

On its trailer – If your boat is normally stored on a trailer, try and put it in a place that is well protected from wind and falling branches. Once the trailer is in a good position block the wheels. For light bots try and add some weight to them to hold them down in heavy wind

Boats on davits and lifts – this is the worst place you have your boat during a wind storm as the boat can be pushed off the cradles.