Guide To Preparing Your Boat For A Storm

MIAMI – (CBS4) – We live here because we love the water, but what is safe and fun in good weather can be dangerous and deadly in bad weather, especially when a hurricane threatens. South Florida is a boater’s paradise, but when a storm looms, those boats need to be moved from harms way. There are many things you can do, but each takes time.

You need to have a plan to secure your boat far enough in advance so you can have time to secure you home and see to the safety of your family. Here are some steps you can take to make that happen.

Rule # 1: DO NOT risk your own life to save a boat.

  • Plan where you will put your boat in the event of a hurricane. A protected garage or well-constructed warehouse is a safe place for a small boat and trailer.
  • If you plan to move your boat, make sure it is in good running order, has fuel, and has charged batteries.

Rule #2: Keep informed of bridge lockdown schedules and flotilla plans if you are moving your boat.

  • Remember to allow plenty of time to move your boat, secure it, and return to your own safe place. A practice run before a hurricane threatens will help you figure out how long it will take you to do this and what obstacles you may be facing.

Rule #3: If you keep your boat in a marina, find out from the dockmaster NOW what the marina’s hurricane plans are. You will need to build that into your own hurricane plan.

Rule #4: Check the mooring hardware and equipment for strength NOW. Hurricane moorings require at least double lines. Coordinate your mooring plan with those of other boat owners around you. Practicing your mooring system now will make it easier and faster when a storm threatens.

Rule #5: Remove all electronics, personal items, and anything not tied down once you have secured your boat.

DO NOT even think about riding out a hurricane on your boat. Too many people have died trying to do that.

Drawbridge Lockdown Plans:

  • Miami-Dade County: All drawbridges will be locked down 8 hours before winds of 39 mph are expected. Boaters without prearranged slip space will not be allowed on the Miami River.
  • Broward County: Bridges are to be locked down no later than 3-1/2 hours after an evacuation order is issued or when winds reach 39 mph, whichever comes first. But be advised that bridges have been locked down much earlier than that in past hurricane threats.

For additional information on hurricane safety for boaters, you can call the Miami-Dade County Answer Center at 305-468-5900 or 311.


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