How To Prepare for Hurricane Season

Hurricane Sandy decimated the northeast just before Halloween in 2012, causing an estimated $68 billion in damage in the Caribbean and the eastern US, and killing 286 people before scattering itself in the North Atlantic.Most hurricanes will never reach Sandy's wrath, and most storms won't become hurricanes, but even a small squall can do a number on your rig. NOAA predicts that the 2013 hurricane season will see an above-average number of storms, which is enough incentive for us here at WFN to commit an afternoon or two to some storm season prep.SeaTow, a leader in on-water assistance, recently released these 10 precautions for anglers and boaters alike to take before winds and waters rise:
  1. Monitor the storm track via both local and national weather services, including NOAA Weather Radio and the National Weather Service's National Hurricane Center.
  2. Store the boat's important documents, including your marine insurance policy, in a secure place off the vessel.
  3. Remove all detachable items from your boat, such as canvas, sails, cushions, fishing rigging, portable electronics and antennas.
  4. Lash down everything that you cannot remove, including booms, tillers, wheels, etc.
  5. Make an inventory, preferably by video, of all valuable fixed items that remain onboard, like chart plotters and other marine electronics. Deflate your dinghy and store it and its outboard motor off the boat.
  6. If it's a fiberglass dinghy, store it in an indoor facility if possible. Lash your boat down securely if it is on a trailer. Use tie-downs to anchor the trailer to the ground, let the air out of its tires, and weigh down the frame.
  7. Disconnect your boat's battery. If it is in a facility with shore power, be sure all power is turned off and all shore power cords are stowed securely.
  8. Center your boat in its slip if it is docked in a marina or a private berth. Double-up all dock lines and make sure they are of sufficient length to compensate for excessive high water.
  9. Put out enough scope, if your boat is anchored. Inspect all anchor rodes and chain and replace any that are worn or rusted. Set extra anchors as necessary.
  10. Do not stay with your boat or try to ride out a storm on board. No matter how valuable your vessel is to you-both financially and sentimentally-it's not worth your life.
Have you been through a major storm? Do you have a tip of your own to share? Tell us about it in the comments.

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