Please select your home edition
Edition
Allen Brothers

The secrets of a stormproof marina

by Scott Croft 11 Sep 06:45 PDT
During a hurricane, a low breakwater like this one offers little protection to boats in a marina. © Scott Croft

The statistics prove that hauling your boat out of the water and storing it ashore before a hurricane strikes greatly lowers the chance you'll need to file an insurance claim after the storm passes.

However, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) also knows that it's often not possible to haul every boat out in time. For those boat owners whose options are limited to weathering a storm in a marina, here are four signs that boaters can look for to help them evaluate their own marinas and lower the odds for storm damage.

  1. What's the plan? A marina should have a comprehensive hurricane plan that outlines who does what when a storm approaches. Slipholders may have to sign a pledge to secure their boats properly, whether ashore on in the water. Remember that a marina is a community - just one poorly prepared or not-prepared-at-all boat can be the weak link that leads to wider damage to others. Joining a "hurricane club" (often with a deposit or fee) can put you on a priority list for hauling out when a storm approaches.
  2. Protection from wind and waves: Open water in front of a marina, even just a mile or two, is the biggest enemy of boats during a storm. Look for tall breakwaters with small channel openings to the big water outside. Smaller, lower breakwaters may be underwater during a surge. A marina's bulkheads should be on the tall side and not in need of immediate repair. High earthen banks or other landforms around a marina can help keep the worst of the wind at bay.
  3. For floating docks, think tall: According to the BoatUS Catastrophe Team, floating docks often fare better than fixed docks in a storm - but only if pilings holding the docks are tall enough to handle a high surge. Even a Category 2 storm (96 - 110 mph) will have a surge of 6 to 8 feet or more. Cleats should be heavy and well-attached through the framing.
  4. Fixed docks: Loose pilings and rotting wood are sure signs that a failure could happen in a storm. Taller pilings make it easier to attach longer lines to help adjust for the surge. Cleats need to be thru-bolted through a substantial structure in wood docks. Loose planks can be carried away in the surge, making accessing your boat after the storm harder and more dangerous. For all docks, larger slips allow more room for movement without banging into the dock.
If you would like to learn about more hurricane boat storage options, including what to do when storing a boat ashore or when it not may be a good idea to leave your boat in a lift, go to BoatUS.com/Hurricanes for a free downloadable copy of the new BoatUS Magazine Hurricane Preparation Guide.

Related Articles

Boaters: Planning that long trip?
'Cruising Boats and Systems' newest online course from America's Boating Club and BoatUS Foundation Whether you're looking to charter this winter season or planning your first cruise aboard your own vessel, the new online course, "Cruising Boats and Systems," will help you have a safer and more enjoyable cruise. Posted today at 3:44 pm
Want to learn how to boat?
Courses for beginners, women, plus the 'spectator sport' of boating: Precision Docking Want to learn the basics of powerboating or brush up on your behind-the-helm skills? Posted today at 1:25 pm
Want to learn how to boat?
Affordable 3-hour on-water training courses at the Norwalk Boat Show Want to learn the basics of powerboating or brush up on your skills? The nonprofit BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water together with Norwalk Boat Show and Freedom Boat Club Connecticut offer a choice of two fun on-water boat training Posted on 29 Aug
Sea Scout Ship takes top honors
Southern Virginia Sea Scout Ship wins National Award sponsored by BoatUS With about 4,500 teens participating across the U.S., Sea Scouting is a specialized, co-educational program from the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) that improves youth boating skills with on-water practice, outdoor, social, and service experiences Posted on 29 Aug
Additional review of offshore wind projects
BoatUS: What makes saltwater vs. freshwater offshore wind farms different? A recent move by the federal government to expand the environmental review of the first major offshore wind farm in the U.S., Vineyard Wind, and the “cumulative impact” of offshore wind projects off the Atlantic Coast has left some in the Great Lakes Posted on 24 Aug
BoatUS offers updated Hurricane Preparation Guide
Who else wants to protect their boat from hurricane damage? If you want to know how to best protect recreational boats from damage in a hurricane, ask the experts who've been tasked with cleaning up the mess for nearly 40 years. Posted on 22 Aug
Rep. Derek Kilmer to speak at BoatUS Town Hall
Recreational boating topics will be on the agenda Boat Owners Association of The United States, together with the Northwest Marine Trade Association (NMTA) and the National Association of Marine Manufacturers (NMMA) are co-hosting a recreational boater's town hall event featuring special guest Rep. Posted on 3 Aug
Chris Edmonston elected chairman of SFBPC
The council advises the U.S. Secretary of the Interior on fishing and boating Edmonston and the council will work on items such as improving access to recreational activities on America's waters, conserving fisheries and waterways, combating invasive species, and a wide array of other topics that impact boating and fishing. Posted on 19 Jul
Florida Governor signs Recreational Boat Title Act
What it means to boaters both inside and outside the Sunshine State Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' recent signing of a recreational boat title bill, the Uniform Certificate of Title Act (HB 475/S 676), offers recreational boat owners valuable consumer protections and may spur other states to follow suit. Posted on 3 Jul
Want to learn how to boat?
Learn the basics of powerboating or brush up on your skills The nonprofit BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water together with Freedom Boat Club San Diego offer a choice of two fun on-water boat training courses taught aboard single-engine powerboats Posted on 26 Jun
Melges 14 2019 FooterZhik 2018 Yacht 728x90 BOTTOMMarine Resources 2019 - Footer