“It’s hard to predict how many named storms and hurricanes actually will form in any given season,” advises Capt. Joe Frohnhoefer, founder and CEO of Sea Tow. “Witness last year when only two hurricanes formed while the forecast was for nine. For that reason, we urge all boaters to start planning now, just in case the season is more active than expected."
With this in mind, Sea Tow offers boaters the following five tips from its experienced Coast Guard-licensed Captains on how to prepare for the upcoming hurricane season.
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- Ensure You’re Insured. A boat that is damaged by a hurricane can wind up costing far more to fix than a marine insurance policy costs annually. Review your boat policy’s requirements and be sure to comply with them. Boat owners whose insurance requires them to relocate their vessels out of a hurricane zone should do so by the date specified in their policy. Call Sea Insure with any questions you may have, 877-568-1672.
- Man with a Plan. Most insurance providers require a formal written Storm Plan detailing where and how your boat must be secured during a major storm. Designate a responsible person to execute the plan if you are out of town when a hurricane threatens. Download a template here.
- No Loose Cannons. Check with your marina, storage facility or the owner of the private dock where your boat is moored to be sure the vessel can remain there during a hurricane. If it can stay, know the procedure for securing not only your boat, but those docked around it, as well. A boat that breaks loose in a hurricane can wind up damaging your boat.
- Smooth Move. If you have to move your boat from its current slip in the event of a storm, decide where you are going to have it hauled before a hurricane is forecast. Check with your local Sea Tow operator to see what pre-storm haul-out services are offered in your area.
- Shoot Your Boat. Make an inventory, preferably by video, of all valuable fixed items such as marine electronics that you cannot remove from your boat. Store all the boat’s documents, including your marine insurance policy, in a secure place off the vessel.
Lastly, keep an eye to the sky and closely monitor local and national weather services, including NOAA Weather Radio and the National Weather Service’s National Hurricane Center www.nhc.noaa.gov.