Please select your home edition
Edition
Marina Exchange 728x90 1

The secrets of a stormproof marina

by Scott Croft 11 Sep 2019 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

East Coast Boaters need to prepare for Isaias
Free hurricane planning videos, guides from BoatUS Hurricane Isaias is forecast to run up the East Coast, likely bringing heavy rains, high winds and storm surge from South Florida to potentially as far north as New England through next week. Posted on 31 Jul
What can a boat's name tell you?
BoatUS issues annual Top 10 Boat Names list While a boat's name can be as varied as the owner at the helm, certain themes do stick out, according to Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS). Posted on 27 Jul
EPA isn't making it easier to choose right fuel
Only 22% of consumers know that regular 88 fuel has more engine-harming ethanol than 87 octane fuel With summer boating season in full swing, it's now common to see recreational boats being filled up at gas stations across the country. Posted on 15 Jul
As weather wreaks havoc, check insurance policy
Boaters need to look at the biggest boat insurance risk According to NOAA, the 12-month-period ending in April 2019 was the wettest in U.S. records dating back to 1895. As extreme weather events become more common, few are more affected than recreational boaters who store their vessels on the water at a marina Posted on 8 Jul
TowBoatUS Beaufort, N.C., removes tons of debris
Partnership with N.C. Coastal Reserve, Town of Beaufort, N.C. The Town of Beaufort and the adjacent Rachel Carson Reserve knew they had a problem with abandoned vessels. For years, a pristine set of barrier islands had become an illegal dumping ground for old boats, tires and other debris. Posted on 7 Jul
Fourth of July holiday to be a busy one on water
TowBoatUS nationwide towing fleet expected to respond to 3500 requests for assistance At the nation's largest 24/7 on-water towing and assistance service for recreational boaters, TowBoatUS, it's all hands on deck. Posted on 2 Jul
Do you make these 3 boating safety mistakes?
A look at the data shows where you can improve safety aboard With the recent release of the U.S. Coast Guard's 2019 Recreational Boating Statistics, the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water recommends avoiding these three common boating mistakes to increase safety for all aboard. Posted on 2 Jul
BoatUS says FCC's message to boaters: 'Tough Luck'
Controversial order threatens reliability of hundreds of millions of GPS units BoatUS, says an April 22 decision by the Federal Communications Commission to give mobile satellite services operator Ligado Networks, a private equity company, the green light to build and operate a land-based industrial 5G wireless network Posted on 26 Jun
Buying a boat?
Here's what they don't have to tell you Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) has helped hundreds of thousands of boat owners make good boat-buying decisions. Posted on 24 Jun
A new boating safety concern this July 4
With COVID-19 it certainly won't be the same Celebrating America's birthday, thousands of boaters are expected to hit the water this Fourth of July holiday weekend, recreational boating's traditional busiest time of the year. Posted on 23 Jun
Maritimo 2019 FooterMarina Exchange FOOTER 1