Protecting Your Boat From Bad Weather

The Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) reminds mariners to make plans to protect their boats from hurricanes and tropical storms. In light of the recent activity in the Atlantic Ocean, boaters should to make plans to protect their property and lives in the event that Maryland is faced with severe storms.


Planning is the key to minimize injury and loss of life. Boaters should make plans well in advance of the storm so that docking, mooring or hauling out their boat can be performed quickly and without delay.

When deciding on storm preparation plans, mariners should consider size, type of boat and location. Current locations may not offer protection from high winds or tides. Boaters should consider the following when making arrangements for their boats.

  1. Remove valuable equipment from the boat to protect it from damage.
  2. Consider removing the boat from the water to reduce damage from storm surge. Boats on land should be properly stored or tied down to prevent being damaged by winds. Small open boats can be filled with water to lessen the effect of the wind.
  3. Boats that remain in the water should be moored in safe areas or berths. Lines should be doubled and high on pilings. Remember storm surges can cause tides over the pilings. Install fenders to protect boats from pilings, piers or other vessels.
  4. Ensure that bilge pumps work properly and that the batteries that run them are fully charged. Seal all openings to make the vessel watertight.
  5. Collect all documents, including insurance policies. Take photographs of the boat and equipment for insurance
  6. Do not stay aboard boats during storms. Safeguard human life.

NRP reminds boaters that advance planning can save property and lives. These actions should take place at least 48 to 72 hours prior to the storm to accommodate unforeseen problems. During the storm, people should stay away from waterways and reside in safe shelters. Remember, storm conditions may delay or prevent response from emergency personnel.

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