Secure a Boat

Keeping Your Boat Afloat

Water craft are particularly vulnerable to damage during a hurricane because of their light weight and close proximity to the coast. Secure your boat before a hurricane warning is given (after an evacuation order is issued, draw bridges will be closed to boaters).

At the Marina

  • Check all cleats, ropes, chocks and winches for strength. Double the rigging lines fore and aft.
  • Ensure lines are high enough on pilings to allow for extreme ebb and flow of the ocean during storm surges.
  • Cover ropes where they rub against the boat and tie points with leather or rubber (old inner tubes or garden hoses work well). This will protect your boat and rigging lines.
  • Make sure batteries for bilge pumps are fresh.
  • Use canvas tape to cover any cracks or openings on the craft.
  • Tie old tires around the boat to protect it from being pushed into other docked boats, piers, pilings, etc.
  • Loose items should be removed or secured inside the craft.
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Boats Stored on Land

  • Remove and store the outboard motor, battery and electronic units.
  • Deflate the trailer tires. Tie down the boat and trailer.
  • Small boats may be filled with water to add weight.
  • If possible, move the boat to a garage.


First and foremost, never try to ride the hurricane out on a boat. Many live-a-boards boats in the harbor, while still seaworthy, aren’t capable of withstanding a hurricane. Live-a-boards are advised to remove all their personal belongings and shelter on land. Boats should be secured as best as possible.

After the Storm

Removing sunken and stranded vessels after the hurricane is a major undertaking and one that is conducted at the boat owner’s expense. County and state officials will hold boat owners responsible for the removal of wrecks. Financial assistance may be available.