Stay Out of a Hurricane's Path — and Wrath

Attention sailors, the Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1. The best way to avoid damage to your vessel from a tropical storm or hurricane is simple: Don't get hit by one.


Meteorologists have the technology to predict storm paths much more accurately than ever before. While many boat owners feel they can properly secure their vessel to ride out a storm, history has shown that it is the unsecured vessel that breaks loose and wreaks havoc on other vessels. With this in mind, the best hurricane plan is move your vessel from a storm's predicted path, or remove your vessel from the water and secure it on land.


Helpful tips for doing this:

  1. Research safe harbors, anchorages, marinas, and hurricane holes outside a 100-mile radius from your primary mooring location.
  2. If possible, contract with at least one of these locations before storm season.
  3. Plan your evacuation route carefully, taking into account bridges and other structures that may cause a problem along the way. The open ocean may not be a viable route due to weather conditions.
  4. If you plan to store your vessel on land, contract with a marina well ahead of time.
  5. Make sure the marina has adequate materials to block and secure your vessel properly. You may want to purchase additional materials ahead of time yourself.
  6. Always have more than one option prepared. Situations and availability can change quickly with a storm looming over the horizon.
  7. Don't wait until the last minute to take action.

Did you know?
From the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (Hurricane Research Division): According to Dunn and Miller (1960), the first use of a proper name for a tropical cyclone was by an Australian forecaster early in the 20th century. He named tropical cyclones after political figures whom he disliked. By naming a hurricane, the weatherman could publicly describe a politician (who perhaps was not too generous with weather-bureau appropriations) as 'causing great distress' or 'wandering aimlessly about the Pacific.'

This publication provides general information and/or recommendations that may apply to many different situations or operations. Any recommendations described in this publication are not intended to be specific to your unique situation or operation and are not intended to address all possible hazardous conditions or unsafe acts that may exist. Consult with your staff and specialists to determine how and whether the information in this publication might guide you in specific plans for your situation or operations. Additionally, this article does not substitute for legal advice, which should come from your own counsel.