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Preparing your boat for a hurricane

BoatU.S. reported that last year’s Hurricane Isabel resulted in one of the largest economic losses to recreational boats from any catastrophe. The following tips were prepared by the organization.

• If possible, haul your boat. Inspect your trailer regularly to make sure it will be operable when you need it.

• Review your marina contract to determine if there are certain steps you must take in the event of an impending storm. Ask the marina manager what else you can do to safeguard your boat.

• Use longer, larger dock lines and protect them against chafing. The lines should be arranged to allow the boat to rise on the surge and still remain in position. Nylon lines stretch, (which is good) but that also makes them more prone to failure due to chafe. Polyester lines stretch less than nylon but are more resistant to chafing. By using polyester line from the cleat through the chock, then joining it with nylon line to the piling or mooring you can get the best qualities of both types of line.

• Helical moorings and expanding fluke anchors are less likely to be dragged.

• Many boats have inadequate cleats and chocks. Two lines per cleat is the maximum. Make sure all cleats are backed properly with stainless steel or aluminum plates.

• Reduce windage by removing such gear as canvas covers, Bimini tops, antennas, life rings and dinghies.

• Take electronics and other valuables off the boat.

• Remove cowl ventilators and seal the openings. Use duct tape to cover instrument gauges. Close all but cockpit draining seacocks and plug the engine exhaust ports.