Thanks in part to Hurricane Iselle’s loss of strength after impacting the Big Island of Hawaii, the majority of the state’s boaters were spared much realistic testing of whatever storm preparations they had made.
Still, with additional tropical storms now being generated in the Eastern Pacific, it might be a good time to repeat the tips that have been developed for boat owners and marina operators for hurricane-prone locations like Hawaii, which can reduce damage to vessels and improve the odds of a quicker recovery.
It has been determined the most important task is to create a written plan that includes deciding where your boat should be to best survive a storm, what supplies you’ll need, and who will activate your plan if you are out of town when the storm approaches.
Then, if possible, you should arrange with your marina in advance to get your boat out of the water and onto high ground. It has been found that boats that have been brought ashore and secured to the ground tend to experience much less damage. Remember however, once hurricane warnings have been posted, marina operators will normally be far too busy to accommodate any last minute requests.
If your boat must remain at a dock, extra dock lines and chaffing gear are strongly recommended, with particular attention to potential chafe areas such as chocks, pilings, pulpits, and dock edges. And you should certainly replace all older dock lines that have been weakened by salt, dirt and UV exposure.
No matter where you must leave your boat, anything that creates windage, such as dinghies, Bimini tops, dodgers, outriggers, antennas, and portable davits should be taken home or stowed below. Ventilators should be taken out and the openings sealed.
Whenever possible, sailboats should have their masts unstepped, but if the mast is left up, all sails and covers must be removed.