Protect your boat as Idalia approaches: tips to consider when preparing for a storm

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Boaters are urged to prepare as Idalia churns and moves toward Florida.


Sea Tow, the leader of on-water assistance, is offering up a comprehensive list of tips to consider before Idalia, or another storm, makes landfall.

[DOWNLOAD: Free Action News Jax app for alerts as news breaks]

“Many boat owners in Southwest Florida are still struggling to recover from catastrophic Hurricane Ian that pummeled throughout the entire State of Flordia in September 2022 resulting in over 150 deaths and over $112 billion in damage, including the displacement of boats, Sea Tow stated in a media release.

As the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season started on Jun. 1 and runs until Nov. 20, boat owners are urged to not only prepare for Idalia but for other future storms.

RELATED STORY: Tracking Idalia: Northeast Florida, Southeast Georgia impacts centered on Wednesday

“From experience, we know that just one storm can cause devastation and uproot lives,” Sea Tow CEO, Joseph Frohnhoefer III said. “The time to prepare is now. We encourage all boaters to be prepared and understand the steps that need to be taken if a storm were to make landfall in their area to protect themselves and their boat. Sea Tow’s team of knowledgeable and experienced captains are available to help.”

The following is a list by Sea Tow of boating tips to consider before, during and after a hurricane:

General preparedness prior to a storm

  1. Know what your marine insurance policy covers. Read it and ask your insurance agent questions (Some insurance companies may require owners to pull their vessel out of the water during a storm or store it in a specific location while the storm is a threat.)
  2. Ensure your policy will cover the recovery of your vessel, transportation or storage if needed, repair of your vessel, or, in the worst-case scenario, the demolition and disposal of your vessel.
  3. If your boat is kept at a marina, check your marina policies to gain an understanding of requirements and procedures.

Before a storm

  1. When a storm is approaching, determine where your boat will ride out the storm.
  2. If your boat needs to be relocated on land, position it on a trailer close to a strong building to break the wind and away from debris and strap it down securely. To anchor the trailer, place blocks beneath it and deflate the tires so it doesn’t shift around due to high winds.
  3. If the boat must stay in the water, secure it to the dock with longer, thicker lines to ensure it doesn’t sway during the storm.
  4. Ensure there aren’t any loose items on the boat that could potentially fly around during the storm and cause more damage.
  5. Take video inventory of all property onboard and place legal documents such as policies, licenses, and registration in a secure, dry place away from the vessel.

During a storm

  1. Monitor radio, TV, NOAA Weather Radio, and/or hurricane hotline telephone numbers for official bulletins for storm updates.
  2. Do not return to the vessel until there is an official announcement that the storm has passed, or the marina is open.

After a storm

  1. Once it is safe to return to the vessel, inspect it for any structural damage.
  2. If the boat was damaged during the storm, take photos, and report it to your insurance company as soon as possible.
  3. It’s imperative to only work with licensed and insured companies to recover your vessel. In many cases, your insurance company has a pre-arranged relationship with a recovery company, and in many cases, it’s Sea Tow. Rest assured knowing that Sea Tow’s experienced captains are available to assist with the recovery process and prevent any further damage.

[SIGN UP: Action News Jax Daily Headlines Newsletter]

Follow Action News Jax Meteorologists on Twitter for updates:

Mike Buresh | Garrett Bedenbaugh | Corey Simma | Trevor Gibbs

Click here to download the free Action News Jax news and weather apps, click here to download the Action News Jax Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Action News Jax live.

Comments on this article