Please select your home edition
Edition
North Sails 3Di 60 - 728x90

Boat Owners: Atlantic Hurricane Season begins June 1 - Are you ready?

by Scott Croft 21 May 18:20 UTC 1 June 2019

When a hurricane approaches, recreational boat owners have a big problem. Faced with limited time to protect their homes, and with families to possibly evacuate, what can they do to prepare their boats?

The nation's largest boating advocacy, services and safety group, The Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS), says you only need to look at last year's hurricane season to find answers. And with the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season beginning June 1, BoatUS has some valuable preparation tips for boat owners.

On September 14, 2018, Hurricane Florence lumbered ashore near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. As soon as the water receded, the BoatUS Catastrophe Team (CAT Team) arrived to begin the task of recovering its insured vessels. After most major storms, the damage is often widespread, with hundreds of boats stacked on each other, sinking, or even in backyards.

While the team found some severe damage at marinas, many boaters had sought protection from the storm by removing their boats from the water. Ashore, the team found marina parking lots crowded with stored boats. Many boat owners simply took their boats home and parked them in driveways, on streets or in the middle of open fields, away from falling trees. Catastrophic total losses, or those vessels that were totally destroyed, appeared to be minimal. Lesser damage meant boaters could get back on the water sooner.

"The combination of many vessels being a trailerable size, and that people in this part of the country are accustomed to hurricanes, helped," said BoatUS CAT Team leader Mike McCook. "They recognized the warnings, had plans already prepared, and efficiently did what needed to be done."

So what can boaters do this hurricane season?

1. Get your boat out of the water: The No. 1 way to reduce the potential for boat damage is to remove it from the water and store ashore on the highest ground possible. If you own a boat trailer, ensure it's ready to go at a moment's notice. If you don't trailer, ask your marina to be put on a priority list for storm haulouts, sometimes referred to as "hurricane clubs." Ensure your boat's insurance policy will help to pay for the haulout so it's an easy decision to make. The BoatUS Marine Insurance Program pays 50 percent of the cost of labor, up to $1,000, to have the boat hauled or moved to the safety of a hurricane hole, and the haulout does not penalize the policyholder. Once ashore, removing windage, such as biminis and sail furlers, and anchoring the boat to the ground with strapping has proven to reduce damage from high winds.

2. If you're not going to haul, make your in-water plan now: Some marinas, such as those that offer protection and have tall pilings with floating docks fare better than marinas with low seawalls and fixed docks or floating docks with short pilings. Use the free BoatUS hurricane planning guides at BoatUS.com/Hurricanes to learn how to protect your boat in a slip, canal, or protected hurricane hole. Get supplies now, such as extra docklines and chafe protection, and have them ready to go in an easy-to-find location. Another lesson learned from the CAT Team: Don't leave your boat in a boat lift.

3. Download the free BoatUS App and sign up for storm alerts: You'll be notified of any storms potentially headed your way and updated on the storm's track and intensity.

4. Have a good insurance backstop for when all else fails: Your last line of hurricane defense is your boat's insurance policy. Ensure that it includes full salvage coverage that is equal to the policy's hull coverage. Lesser policies limit salvage coverage to either a small percentage of the boat's insured hull value, perhaps just 5% to 10%, or may subtract salvage costs from the insured value of the boat, reducing the funds available to repair the boat or the amount paid if the boat's declared a total loss. Additionally, be aware of boat insurance named storm deductibles. In the eventuality there ever is a storm claim, some insurers may lower the deductible and reward boat owners who show that they have taken additional measures to prepare for the storm, such as hauling, lashing down, removing windage or other protective measures.

Related Articles

Who else wants money to improve boating in the US?
Help your floating community be safe and clean Begun over 25 years ago and one of the longest-running boating community grant programs, the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water Grassroots Grant program provides local groups up to $10,000 to help educate boaters. Posted on 3 Jun
BoatUS releases annual list of Top 10 Boat Names
The tradition dates back a quarter century Each year, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) tallies the most popular boat names. The tradition dates back a quarter century, with the list derived from adding up requests for boat name designs from BoatUS Boat Graphics. Posted on 24 May
Countdown to the NWSA Women's Sailing Conference
It's now just one month to go for Massachusetts event In just about one month, beginning and experienced woman sailors will jump-start their sailing lives by heading to the National Women's Sailing Association (NWSA) 18th Annual Women's Sailing Conference slated for Saturday, June 1, 2019 Posted on 6 May
2019 Safe Boating Expo
Boaters urged to drop off expired marine flares Boating safety and family fun come together at the U.S. Coast Guard Station Channel Islands Harbor 14th annual Safe Boating Expo on Saturday, May 11, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 4201 South Victoria Ave., Oxnard. Posted on 27 Apr
4 things you can do now for safe summer boating
BoatUS Foundation tips are free or low-cost Boatyards, marinas and clubs are waking up after a long winter's nap, and boaters have begun preparing their vessels for the season. While the boat needs to be looked at and readied for a summer of fun, so does your safety. Posted on 30 Mar
Buying Boat Insurance: The Fine Print
Know your policy details about these six coverages As boat owners prep for the season, it's time to dust off the boat's insurance policy and grab a magnifying glass to read the fine print. Unlike auto or homeowner's insurance, recreational boat insurance has distinct coverages Posted on 26 Mar
Bring your expired flares to the Collection Event
Collection Event scheduled in San Francisco for April 14 The Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) is urging San Francisco boaters to take advantage of a marine flare collection event held by the San Francisco Department of Environment (SF Environment) on Sunday, April 14 Posted on 22 Mar
Video: Ships vs. Boats – How close is too close?
Two videos captured by Hudson River pilot seek to educate boaters When it comes to recreational boats and commercial ship traffic, separation is key. Some boaters, however, may not recognize the dangers of navigating close to a commercial ship. Posted on 21 Mar
Want to learn how to boat?
Affordable, 3-hour on-water training courses on 6-7 April The nonprofit BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water together with Freedom Boat Club Savannah offer a choice of two fun on-water boat training courses taught aboard single-engine . Posted on 19 Mar
BoatUS Spring Commissioning Checklist
Spring commissioning time has arrived Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) has a Spring Commissioning Checklist to help boaters start the season right. Posted on 16 Mar
Marine Resources 2019 - FooterGrapefruit Graphics 2019 - FooterGJW Direct - Yacht 2019 - Footer