Small pontoon boats and other boating vessels are particularly vulnerable to storms, hurricanes in particular. When a hurricane is bearing down on your area, it can be frightening for lots of reasons. As we're going through our preparations, there's a long list of things to check off, and it can be easy to forget some of the little things. But one thing that shouldn't be forgotten is to prepare your boat. It's dangerous to assume that your boat will be safe because it is a natural floating device, but it doesn't take much to unleash a boat from a dock and send it out into the water, after which you may never see it again.
Your boat is a big investment, so if you have time, make sure it's ready. And even if there isn't a hurricane on the horizon, if you live in a hurricane-prone area it can't hurt to put some of these measures in place at all times.
What to do before the storm comes
If you want to be safe from a hurricane, here are some steps to take on the boat:
· Check all of the boat's windows, ports, doors, and hatches to ensure that they are completely watertight. To be safe, you might want to use some duct tape to seal them up.
· If you have hurricane insurance, take pictures of everything that you have on the boat, including all furniture, gear, and equipment.
· Make sure the boat's fuel and water tanks are full and that any batteries are charged.
· Keep all of your insurance and boat registration documents in a safe location where they won't be damaged.
· Make sure everything on the boat is tied down or securely stored away.
And if your boat is too large to be trailered and taken away from the dock, here are some steps you can take dockside to make sure your boat is safe:
· Double up all ropes and lines attaching the boat to the dock.
· Make sure all the lines are tied high up on the pilings. This will protect the connection from storm surges.
· If there are strong trees or other nearby fixtures that are very secure, consider using extra lines to tie the boat to these.
· Cooperate with others on the dock for additional solutions that benefit everyone.
· If the hurricane is bearing down and your boat is secure, be a good neighbor and help others on the dock.
Of course, if your boat is easy to trailer, the best idea is to take it out of the water and secure it safely in a warehouse or garage. However, if you must store it outside, here are some tips to keep in mind:
· Keep the boat somewhere where it will be protected from flying debris and falling branches.
· Deflate the trailer tires and add as much secure weight to the boat as you can.
· Secure the boat to nearby fixtures, especially secure buildings and large trees. If possible, lash the boat on all four corners.
And those are just a few ways to protect your pontoon boat and other sea faring vessels.