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Safe boating precautions

The key to protecting your boat from hurricanes or any threatening severe weather is planning, preparation and timely action. Develop a detailed plan of action for your vessel in advance. (Source: FEMA) The key to protecting your boat from hurricanes or any threatening severe weather is planning, preparation and timely action. Develop a detailed plan of action for your vessel in advance. (Source: FEMA)

The key to protecting your boat from hurricanes or any threatening severe weather is planning, preparation and timely action.

1. Make sure the dock is in good condition, especially if your boat will remain in the water. In the weeks before a storm, make any necessary improvements to ensure the dock will hold up during the storm.

2. Heed and have respect for National Weather Service warnings. Begin safe anchorage trip before storm tide arrives.

3. Trailer boats should be removed from the water and stored.

4. Out of area boats should inquire and plan a desirable and convenient location for safe anchorage, or follow local boats to a safe anchorage area.

5. Safe anchor rigging should consist of new or good tie ropes, with extra length, and at least 3 or 4 substantial anchors for the craft. 

6. If possible, boats should anchor in groups with bow lines individually tied high to tree or piling on the mainland with loose rope for rising tide, and the sterns well anchored to hooks. Boats in the group should also be tied together at the bows and sterns using protective bumpers. 

7. Do not tie up parallel to the bank, receding tides often beach or capsize boats in this type of anchorage.

8. Be sure that a navigable passage at the stern of secured boats is made available for late arriving boats seeking safe anchorage beyond first boats anchored.

9. Safely anchored boats should be tied high, using a half hitch knot (loop knots slip). Rope lengths should be sufficient to take care of excessively high water.

10. Boaters should make sure the bilge pump - which can help pump water out of the bilge if the boat takes on water - is fully charged.

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