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How To Prepare For Hurricane Season

As the annual hurricane season approaches, the entire North Carolina boating community is gearing up and making preparations in advance just in case a major storm makes its way up the coast. 

That said, if you are new to hurricane season boating, you might not be quite sure how to prepare. To help, the team at Northwest Creek Marina has put together the following list of hurricane boat prep tips that you can use to stay safe throughout the season.

The Impacts of Hurricanes on North Carolina Boating

Being located more south along the Atlantic coast, North Carolina is particularly vulnerable to hurricanes. These storms can bring high winds, heavy rainfall, and huge storm surges, all of which pose a serious threat to boats. Whether your boat is docked, moored, or stored on land, being proactive is crucial to minimizing damage.

Hurricane Boat Prep Tips

Thankfully, there are plenty of great ways to prepare yourself and your boat before hurricane season gets underway. These include the following steps:

Develop a Plan

Don’t wait until a major storm is barreling up the coast to develop a game plan. Devise  a course of action now so that you can move swiftly to protect your vessel once the weather worsens. 

At a minimum, your plan should outline where you will store your boat, include a checklist of items that need to be removed or secured, and identify any essential supplies you’ll need. 

Choose a Safe Place to Lay Anchor

Your next step is to decide where to seek safe harbor. Northwest Creek Marina is a state-of-the-art facility that offers access to essential amenities, including ice, a fuel dock, and supplies, alongside expertly maintained slips that can help your vessel weather the storm.

Alternatively, you can get your boat out of the water altogether. Storing your boat on land, especially in an enclosed building, offers the best protection from unpredictable storm surges. 

Secure and Remove Valuables

Remove all valuables, personal items, and portable electronics from your boat, and secure anything that cannot be removed to ensure nothing goes airborne in high winds. Seemingly harmless items like Bluetooth speakers, hard-sided containers, or fishing gear can become incredibly dangerous when swept up in hurricane-force winds. 

If you’ve got time, consider installing a boat cover. You’ll have to ensure that the cover is firmly secured and tight-fitting on your vessel. Otherwise, it can come loose during the storm. 

Minimize Windage

You want your boat to catch as little wind as possible. Therefore, lower or remove biminis, canvases, sails, dinghies, and outriggers to minimize windage. High winds can catch these items and jostle your vessel around. And even if your craft doesn’t capsize, it can get shaken around or pushed into the dock, causing major damage. 

Check Bilges and Batteries

Ensure your bilges are clean and that their pumps are working. Additionally, check that your batteries are fully charged to run the pumps (and any other automatic systems) for as long as possible during the storm. If your boat is directly in the path of the hurricane, it’s probably going to face some major surges and take on quite a bit of water. 

Document Your Boat

Take detailed photos or videos of your boat and all onboard equipment prior to an incoming hurricane for insurance purposes. Ensure your insurance policies are up-to-date and that you fully understand your coverage. And if you’ve purchased any aftermarket gear, such as navigation systems, document the brand, model, and serial number. 

Watch the Weather

It may seem obvious, but it’s important to keep a close eye on the weather all season long, especially when you know there is an active hurricane nearby. These are truly giant storms that can be unruly and shift off of their paths, putting you and your boat in danger. Don’t get taken by surprise.

Seek Safety at the Northwest Creek Marina

If you can’t get your boat out of the water and need a safe place to harbor your vessel, Northwest Creek Marina can help, nestled away on the Neuse River. We have large slips and offer rental flexibility to accommodate last-minute needs. If you’d like to learn more about our facility and its amenities, contact our team today.

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