Marina hurricane preparation tips for the next major storm

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Commercial marine producers: Marina hurricane preparation tips for your clients

As a commercial marine producer, your marina clients look to you for risk mitigation techniques to help control property loss and liability. Now that we’re in hurricane season, here are some marina hurricane preparation tips to help your clients minimize damage during the next big storm.

Create a marina hurricane preparation plan

Before the next storm, develop a plan that’s based on your review of

  • Potential storm effects on the marina and also potential protected areas
  • Rental occupancy during hurricane season
  • Availability of “hurricane holes” and their distance and estimated anchorage capacity
  • Potential upland damage including structures, utilities, topography that may affect you
  • Structure and damage potential to docks, pilings, piers, cleats, buildings, dry racks
  • Berth layout, seawall protection, direction of slips
  • Bottom characteristics, depths, estimates of holding capacities
  • Shut off/ disconnect mechanisms for utilities (overhead lines; exposed water, electrical and fuel lines to docks)
  • Location of nearest shelter and evacuation route for marina employees and customers
  • Which boats have local vs. absentee owners (ie, which may not evacuate)
  • The evacuation and anchoring capability of each boat

Once your plan is complete, communicate your plan with employees. Specify a chain of command. Assign responsibilities for all physical plant, operations, equipment and housekeeping. Provide specific training for these duties, such as securing the dry rack or wet boat slips, protection of office equipment, etc. Also provide emergency training for such events as fuel spill, fire, CPR, etc.

Now provide a written plan to boat owners, emphasizing legal requirement in their rental contracts for evacuation, management rights/responsibilities to board, move or secure vessels, liability insurance coverage requirements for boat owners. Provide owners with checklists and hints for securing boats. Request that they file hurricane plans with you and ensure you have all their contact information.

Related: Storm season preparation tips for your property owners 

Chubb also recommends that marina owner/managers

  • Conduct a thorough facility housekeeping audit: clean up open areas and structures, remove debris, trash and unneeded items; store or secure all materials and supplies; inspect and service building walls, roofs, windows, doors, docks, piers, wharfing or slipfingers, pilings, electrical and lighting installations, fuel and natural gas dispensing equipment, portable and fixed fire-fighting equipment, mobile lifts, hydrolifts and railways.
  • Stock emergency equipment and supplies: extra mooring lines, lumber for fender boards, chafing gear, screw anchors, flashlights, batteries, portable generators, electrical and manual bilge pumps, hull patching and repair supplies.
  • Vessels stored on land should be cradled or have 4 – 6 jack stands chained together with bases protected from shifting or sinking. Secure them with lines or web straps to ground screws or preset concrete eyes. Nest vessels gunwale to gunwale and strap together.
Related: Preventing storm damage to boats


Marina hurricane preparation tips for 2-3 days prior to Hurricane Watch

In their checklist to marina owners, Chubb provides detailed instructions, initially for the 2-3 days of a Hurricane Watch, with such tasks as

  • Begin facility protection: police yards, marina and dock areas; stow away or secure loose equipment.
  • Secure all flammable, explosive or other hazardous materials, including compressed gas cylinders, in a safe, protected and secure area.
  • Dry storage or other facilities with outside “racks” for small boat and trailer storage: remove vessels from racks and secure elsewhere.
  • Store expensive equipment and products in inland warehouses.
  • Reduce inventories where feasible and delay orders for materials, stocks and supplies.
  • Contact vessel owners/representatives to begin removing vessels from facility, if required.


Marina hurricane preparation tips for 2-3 days prior to hurricane

  • Complete vessel removal and fueling.
  • Fuel and secure remaining vessels.
  • Secure fueling operations and equipment.
  • Secure all equipment not needed for storm preparation in protected areas: forklifts, trucks, travel lifts, mobile cranes, workboats.


Marina hurricane preparation tips for 36 hours prior to landfall

  • Complete vessel protection and securing with final check of doubled mooring lines, tied off with sufficient slack, and fender boards/protective equipment in place.
  • Evacuate all personnel from all vessels.
  • Notify location management and local police when location is secured and evacuation complete.

View their complete checklist here. More marina hurricane preparation tips including detailed checklists, forms and other helps can be found in Hurricane Preparedness: Guidelines for Marinas.


Hurricane Preparedness: Guidelines for Marinas

What Works: A guide to preparing marinas, yacht clubs and boats for hurricanes