12 Hurricane Prep Actions that Helped Get Us Through Hurricane Matthew
- Take down all canvas. Take down roller furled sails, take down the main. Yes it’s a lot of work, but those with canvas up fared far worse than those without.
- FENDERS, FENDERS, FENDERS – tie them to both sides and to the the toe rail or the stanchions, not the lifelines.
- Don’t use old dock lines. Sun weakens them over time and they will break. Double all lines, and tie in all directions. Tie them across the dock if possible, as longer lines have more stretch and will jerk the boat less.
- Spring lines are vital. Make sure your spring lines won’t allow the boat to go too far into the slip. Give the bow, or the stern, plenty of room – like three feet.
- Drop an anchor in open water. If you’re near the seaward end of the dock, this may help. Ours served as a major added bow line, saving our boat from breaking free. Should the docks go, your boat has a better chance of staying in place.
- Secure the main hatchway. We accidentally left ours unlatched and it blew open and let some rain in.
- Tape all hatches. We saw several boats with hatches ripped open.
- Make sure your bilge pump works. And make it as high capacity as possible.
- The boat that will cause you problems will not be your own. Check the boats around you, help with their lines and fenders. Help less experienced sailors secure their vessels. Far better to risk a hurt feeling than to risk breaking a marina.
- Be vigilant. Check the docks, lines, fenders often.
- Work together. All differences go by the wayside when a hurricane strikes. We lucked out with a group that was skilled, friendly, funny, sharing, accommodating and helpful. Everyone contributed what they could and it all meshed beautifully.
- Have great luck, and be happy for it.
This is one boater’s advice based on one experience, of one hurricane. I’m sure not everyone will agree on all of these ideas, so discussion and critique are welcome. Please share additional ideas for hurricane prep and experiences in the comments.