From a Marine Surveyor: Storing your boat in a “Hurricane Hole”

From Paul Squire a Marine Surveyor

This has been a very active Atlantic Hurricane Season so far. June is barely half over and Tropical Cyclone Debby has already been the 4th named storm. This is why a marine surveyor knows how important a plan is. The first step in that plan is deciding where you will store your boat during a major storm. We have already discussed a couple of options, but what about a “hurricane hole”?

Do you even know how to find one? If you do not then a consultation with a marine surveyor might be a good idea. A qualified marine surveyor will know the local area well and be able to help you determine the best place to store your vessel.

So why would you choose a hurricane hole? There are several reasons that include:

  • Your yacht or boat is too large to be easily moved and stored inland
  • You have no space available to store your vessel out of water
  • The anchorage you currently use is overcrowded
  • So if this fits your situation you need to look for a location before the storm season by using an inland chart. Look for a location that has deep water (you could be arriving at low tide) and is close to where you normally anchor. You are looking for spots that are free of highway and railroad bridges and have good protection, such as a high bluff, an outer reef, or tall trees on as many sides as possible. You need to visit several spots prior to the hurricane season to test the bottom and note the surroundings. Any marine surveyor in Florida will tell you that hurricane holes can get pretty crowded right before the storm hits so you want to make sure that you have several options.

Arriving at a hurricane hole at least 12 hours prior to landfall is a real good idea, and set your anchor with at least a 7-to-1 scope. Nylon is the best anchor line because of its elasticity. Protect your lines wherever they pass through the anchor chute chocks. Make sure that all automatic switches have been double checked. As a marine surveyor who has worked in Florida for years, I cannot stress enough that you secure your boat as much as possible before the storm.

If you a ready then this is part of your plan. You should already have a checklist – if you do not here is a sample checklist that you can use. A responsible boat owner is ready and checking items off of their list. Are you ready?

Captain Paul Squire is a marine surveyor in Fort Lauderdale that offers tips and information.