How to Prepare Your Boat and Boat Lift for a Hurricane or Major Storm

According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Hurricane Ian was upgraded to a Category 3 storm early Tuesday morning, September 27, 2022. A category 3 storm is considered a major hurricane, meaning it has the potential to cause devastating or catastrophic wind damage and major loss of life. With hurricanes of this magnitude, it is of the utmost importance to fortify your property as best possible.

In order to protect your boat and boat lift for a hurricane or major storm, keep these tips in mind:

Preparing Your Boat for a Major Storm

If you have enough time to do so, the best way to protect your boat during a hurricane or major storm is to remove it from your boat lift and put it in a garage or boat storage facility. Outdoor storage farther inland and away from the potential storm surge can be an option. If you cannot remove your boat, raise the dock lift as high as you can to try to keep the boat above the storm surge. And don’t forget to secure your boat to the lift. Also, remove plugs from your boat so water can drain out and not overload your lift.

If you cannot remove your boat and your boat lift’s cradle doesn’t rise high enough to keep it above the potential storm surge, there are extra steps to take. It is still advisable to raise your boat as high as the boat lift goes, secure your boat to the lift, and use long ropes to secure your boat to anchor points. Even if the storm surge lifts your boat off the boat lift, the long anchor ropes will help to keep it near your property.

Preparing Your Boat Lift for a Potential Storm

For boat owners able to remove the boat from the boat lift, the best way to prepare a boat lift for a major storm is to lower the cradle on the lift all the way to the bottom. Leaving the cradle in the water prevents it from swaying the winds or being lashed harshly by waves in a storm surge, thus protecting the lift itself and the dock.

If your boat lift has a low-profile installation, it is possible the tide surge could bring corrosive saltwater right into your boat lift motors, switches, and covers. Remove these items from your lift and store in a safe, dry place. Those with a sealed direct-drive system should remove the gear unit as well. Before you do though, lower the cable down to its lowest point as the cable will free spool back down regardless. Last but not least, tighten all the nuts and bolts on the lift so you don’t lose any small parts during a potential storm.

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