Docks, Boat Lifts, and Seawall Blog

Preparing Your Boat and Boat Lift for Hurricane Season in SWFL

Hurricanes can wreak havoc on coastal communities and their assets, including boats. In Southwest Florida, many of us learned this firsthand from Hurricane Ian. With hurricane season upon us, it's crucial for boat owners in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, and surrounding areas to take proactive steps to protect their vessels and boat lifts from potential damage. Here are essential tips for preparing your boat and boat lift for the upcoming hurricane season.

Create a Hurricane Plan

Before hurricane season begins, develop a comprehensive hurricane plan for your boat. This plan should outline steps to secure your boat and lift in the event of an approaching storm. Identify safe storage locations, evacuation routes, and emergency contacts in your area.

Inspect and Maintain Your Boat Lift

Regular maintenance of your boat lift is essential for its proper functioning during a storm. Inspect all components, including cables, pulleys, and motors, for signs of wear or damage. Replace any worn parts and ensure that the lift is operating smoothly. This is crucial for boat owners in Sanibel and Captiva Island, where storms can be particularly severe.

Secure Your Boat

If possible, remove your boat from the water before a hurricane strikes. Store it in a secure location, such as a marina, boatyard, or garage. If removing the boat isn't feasible, get the boat as high as safely possible, and ensure it's properly secured to the boat lift with sturdy lines. Install hurricane straps or braces to anchor the cradle securely to the dock or pilings. 

Protect Against Debris

Minimize the risk of damage from flying debris by securing loose items on your boat and around the dock. Remove sails, canvas covers, and other accessories that could become airborne during a storm. If you have a boat lift canopy, be sure to remove the canvas, or call Stokes Marine to do so for you. Also, trim trees and bushes near the boat lift to reduce the risk of branches causing damage.

Monitor Weather Alerts

Stay informed about developing weather conditions by monitoring local weather forecasts and advisories. Sign up for emergency alerts from your local authorities and marina. Be prepared to implement your hurricane plan at short notice if a storm threatens your area.

Implement Emergency Procedures

If a hurricane is imminent, take prompt action to secure your boat and lift according to your hurricane plan. Follow all evacuation orders issued by authorities and move your boat to a designated safe location if necessary. Once the storm has passed, inspect your boat and lift for any damage and make repairs as needed. 

Review Insurance Coverage

Review your boat insurance policy to ensure you have adequate coverage for hurricane damage. Understand your policy's deductible, coverage limits, and exclusions. Consider purchasing additional coverage or upgrading your policy if necessary. Many docks and boat lifts are not covered by standard insurance plans, which is critical information for boat owners.

Stokes Marine - Your Local Expert

Preparing your boat and boat lift for hurricane season requires careful planning and proactive measures. By following these essential tips, you can minimize the risk of damage to your vessel and ensure its safety during severe weather events. Stokes Marine is here to assist as needed. Feel free to reach out with any questions.


Connect with us: