Storm Prep Resources
By preparing for a hurricane or tropical storm, boat owners can stay safe and reduce the risk of damage to their property. The following tips and resources have been gathered by the FWC to help boaters before, during and after a storm.
Move Your Vessel If You Can
- If your boat can be trailered, haul it out of the water and move it to a safe location as far from tidal waters as possible. This includes kayaks and other recreational watercraft.
- Find a boat ramp at Florida Boat Ramp Finder.
Protect Your Vessel If You Can’t Move It
- If your vessel must stay in a marina berth, double all lines and rig cross-spring lines fore and aft and attach lines high on pilings to allow for tidal rise or surge.
- If your vessel is at anchor, move to the most protected area possible and set out multiple anchors with at least a 10:1 scope, remove canvas coverings if possible and remove or secure any sails.
- If your vessel will remain on a mooring, make sure the mooring is designed to withstand the load your vessel will place on it. Inspect chains and swivels that connect to the mooring buoy and double up on the mooring pendant.
- Remove Electronic Position Indicating Radio Beacons (known as EPIRBs), life rings, life jackets and loose items from the boat and store them in a safe, indoor location.
- To prevent chafing, wrap all lines where they feed through chocks with tape, rags and rubber hoses or leather. Install fenders, fender boards or tires to protect the boat from rubbing against the pier, pilings or other boats.
- Charge batteries and make sure they can run automatic bilge pumps throughout the storm. Consider adding backup batteries and shut off all other devices that consume electricity.
Watch This Short Video
- See tips for how to prep your boat for a hurricane or tropical storm.
Monitor the Weather
- View storm tracking through the National Hurricane Center.
Comply with Evacuation Orders
- See Florida law regarding mandatory marina evacuations. Chapter 327.59, F.S., Marina Evacuations.
Find Local Shelter Information and Other Resources
Impacts from hurricanes and tropical storms can include heavy rainfall, waves, high water and winds that exceed 100 mph. Additionally, tornadoes are often associated with these storms.
Protect yourself and first responders by not venturing out into rough conditions. Also, never ride out a hurricane or tropical storm on board your anchored, moored, or docked vessel. Visit FloridaDisaster.org to find shelter information.
After a major storm, water conditions can be hazardous because of debris such as pilings or trees, new shoals or sandbars, and missing or damaged navigation markers. Some of these hazards may be submerged and not visible so extra caution is needed when boating.
Additionally, some areas may not be accessible because of high water and flooding. It’s also important to avoid areas where first responders are at work.
When boating after a hurricane or tropical storm, be observant, use caution and maintain safe speeds.
Below is a list of post-storm tips and resources.
- Call 911 or use VHF Marine Radio Channel 16 to report distress and other emergencies. Do not rely on social media to report life-threatening situations. Due to limited resources, it may not be possible to monitor the many different social media platforms during a hurricane or large-scale rescue event.
- Report missing and/or damaged waterway markers.
- Report storm damaged boats that might be lost or abandoned to your local law enforcement agency (preferred) or the FWC Division of Law Enforcement at 888-404-3922.
- Check marina eligibility for disaster relief through Small Business Administration loans.
- Visit FloridaDisaster.org for more information.
- Storm tracking: National Hurricane Center
- BoatUS Hurricane Resource Center
- University of Florida: Hurricane Prep for Boat Owners
- Find a Boat Ramp
- Chapter 327.59, Florida Statutes, Marina Evacuations
- Reporting Missing and/or Damaged Waterway Markers
- Marina Eligibility for Small Business Administration Disaster Relief Loans