04 Sep Hurricane Season is Here: How to Protect Your Yacht
This year’s hurricane season is shaping up to be very active and destructive. If you own a yacht, you’ll want to do everything in your power to protect your vessel from storm damage. Below are our top tips for yacht hurricane preparation.
1. Prep Early
Get started before hurricanes are reported to be brewing far off the coast. The earlier you prep your yacht, the better for your boat and your peace of mind.
2. Check Insurance Coverage and Contracts
Know what your insurance will cover in the event of a storm in regards to hauling the boat. A lot of marina contracts require yacht owners to pull their vessel in advance to protect the marina. Some insurance policies will cover up to 50% of hauling costs.
3. Move to Land
Boats stored on land are better protected than a vessel left in the dock. Try to coordinate a land haul with the marina far in advance of an active hurricane ready to make landfall. Chain the jack stands together once the boat is on land to keep them from moving. Also, you may need to put down plywood planks under the jack stands to prevent the vessel from sinking into the dirt.
If getting the boat on land is not an option, you’ll need to moor the ship in a place with the smallest amount of fetch. A canal is ideal, but also keep in mind that the wind will come from all directions in a hurricane. A “hurricane hole” can provide additional protection from wind.
5. Long Lines
An adequate yacht hurricane preparation plan will use long lines for mooring. That way, your boat can rise along with the water level. A short line can break or pull the piling from the water. Tie the yacht with the bow facing the predicted wind direction. But remember that the pilings need to be higher than the expected storm surge. Pilings that are too short will turn into a raft, and your boat will float away.
For yacht hurricane preparation, you’ll want to use a helix type anchor that screws into the seabed. Also, use this time to upgrade your mooring pennant to one that has chafe protection.
In some cases, you may need to anchor out. Choose a place to anchor that will have the least amount of fetch as possible. You can use up to three anchors.
7. Replace Dock Lines
Are the dock lines worn out or old? Replace them as a part of your yacht hurricane preparation. Install chafing gear to prevent the lines from breaking. Snubbers or mooring compensators can be used to reduce stress on the lines, too.
8. Reduce Wind
You may also want to do what you can to reduce windage. Remove all canvass items, including biminis and dodgers. Halyards can be attached to a line and secured to the mast. But mainsail covers, mainsails, and furling genoas should all be removed. Left behind canvasses on the yacht can be easily damaged in a hurricane.
9. Stay Informed
You don’t want to be caught off-guard in the event of a hurricane. Keep an eye on the weather to ensure that your yacht is appropriately prepared and ready to face hurricane season, whether on land or sea.