Securing You and Your Boat Lift Before and After a Hurricane

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Hurricanes pose significant threats to both life and property due to their destructive winds, heavy rainfall leading to flooding, and storm surges along coastal areas. Therefore, understanding and implementing proper hurricane safety measures are crucial for individuals and communities in vulnerable regions. From securing homes and preparing emergency kits to heeding evacuation orders, proactive planning and awareness can greatly mitigate the risks associated with these powerful natural phenomena.

Preparing you and your boat lift for a hurricane is essential to protect your boat, lift, and property. Early planning, such as removing the boat from the lift if possible and securing it with heavy-duty straps, is crucial. Regular maintenance, reducing the lift’s elevation, and securing loose items also help minimize damage. After the storm, safety checks, such as inspecting the motor, cables, and structural components, are necessary to ensure everything remains in good condition.

Hurricane Scale

Hurricane and Relief Websites

National Hurricane Center

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The Weather Channel Hurricane Center

FEMA Hurricane Resources

Hurricane Safety Plan

1. Create a Comprehensive Emergency Plan

Evacuation Routes and Shelters:

  • Identify multiple evacuation routes in case one is blocked or congested.
  • Locate nearby shelters and note if they are pet-friendly.
  • Plan where you will stay if you need to evacuate (e.g., with relatives, at a hotel, or at a designated shelter).

Family Communication:

  • Establish a meeting place in case family members are separated.
  • Create a list of emergency contacts, including out-of-town relatives.
  • Ensure all family members, including children, know how to use emergency contacts and meeting places.

Special Needs:

  • Account for the needs of elderly family members, those with disabilities, and pets in your plan.

2. Assemble an Emergency Kit

Basic Supplies:

  • At least three days’ worth of non-perishable food and water (one gallon per person per day).
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio and extra batteries.
  • Flashlights, extra batteries, and portable chargers for mobile phones.
  • First aid kit with necessary medications and medical supplies.
  • Personal hygiene items, including sanitation supplies and masks.

Important Documents:

  • Copies of insurance policies, identification, and bank account records in a waterproof container.
  • Local maps and a list of important addresses and phone numbers.

Comfort Items:

  • Books, games, and activities to keep children occupied.
  • Pet food and supplies, including leashes, carriers, and vaccination records.

3. Secure Your Home

Structural Preparations:

  • Install storm shutters or board up windows with plywood.
  • Reinforce garage doors and secure loose roofing materials.
  • Trim trees and shrubs around your home to reduce debris.

Outdoor Items:

  • Bring in outdoor furniture, decorations, and trash cans.
  • Anchor heavy objects that cannot be brought inside.


  • Know how to turn off gas, electricity, and water in case of emergency.
  • Ensure backup generators are in good working order and have enough fuel.

4. Stay Informed and Connected


  • Regularly check updates from the National Hurricane Center and local weather stations.
  • Use weather apps and sign up for community alert systems for real-time information.


  • Charge mobile phones and keep them charged.
  • Have a backup power source for communication devices.
  • Keep a car charger for your phone.

Local Information:

  • Stay tuned to local government and emergency management social media channels for instructions.
  • Know the locations of the nearest hospitals and emergency services.

5. Execute Your Evacuation Plan

Evacuation Orders:

  • Follow local authorities’ instructions promptly when an evacuation order is issued.
  • Leave early to avoid traffic congestion and ensure you have plenty of time to reach safety.

Travel Preparedness:

  • Keep your car’s gas tank full and check its oil, tires, and battery.
  • Pack your emergency kit, important documents, and extra clothing in your vehicle.
  • Plan for pets’ needs during evacuation, ensuring they have food, water, and a safe place to stay.

After the Storm:

  • Only return home when authorities declare it safe.
  • Avoid flooded areas and downed power lines.
  • Document any damage to your property for insurance claims.

By following this detailed hurricane safety plan, Gulf Coast residents can better protect themselves, their families, and their homes during hurricane season. Stay prepared, stay informed, and stay safe.



Boat Lift Safety Plan

Securing your boat lift before a hurricane hits is crucial to prevent damage to your boat, lift, and surrounding property. Here are some important tips to help you properly prepare:

Early Preparation

Plan Ahead:

  • Begin preparations well in advance of the hurricane’s expected arrival.
  • Waiting until the last minute can lead to inadequate securing and increased risk of damage.

Review Guidelines:

  • Check local regulations or guidelines for securing boat lifts during hurricanes.
  • Follow them closely to ensure compliance and optimal safety measures.

Securing Your Boat and Lift

Remove Your Boat:

  • Whenever possible, remove your boat from the lift and store it in a safe location away from the storm’s path.
  • This is the most effective way to prevent damage to both your boat and the lift.

Secure Boat on Lift:

  • If removing the boat is not feasible, secure it on the lift using heavy-duty straps or chains to anchor it firmly to the lift’s frame.
  • Make sure the boat is centered and balanced on the lift to minimize stress on the structure.

Maintain Your Lift:

  • Regularly inspect and maintain your boat lift to ensure all components are in good working condition.
  • Replace worn or damaged parts promptly.

Reduce Elevation:

  • Lower the boat lift as close to the water as safely possible.
  • This reduces wind resistance and minimizes the lift’s exposure to the elements.

Remove Accessories:

  • Take off any removable accessories, such as canopies, covers, or electronics, from both the boat and the lift.
  • These items can become projectiles during strong winds.

Secure Loose Items:

  • Store loose items around the boat lift area, such as dock boxes, fuel tanks, and chairs, indoors or in a secure location.
  • This prevents them from becoming hazards during high winds.

Additional Safety Measures

Install Hurricane Straps:

  • Use hurricane straps or braces designed for boat lifts.
  • These can add extra stability and support to the lift structure.

Double-Check Lines:

  • Ensure that any lines used to secure your boat lift are in good condition and securely fastened.
  • Use high-quality lines that are suitable for marine conditions.

Turn Off Power:

  • Disconnect any electrical connections to the boat lift, including power sources and remote control systems.
  • This prevents electrical damage or hazards.

Secure the Dock:

  • If your boat lift is part of a larger dock system, secure the dock itself by using proper anchoring and reinforcing techniques.

Document and Insure:

  • Document the condition of your boat lift and boat before the storm arrives.
  • This documentation can be helpful when filing insurance claims in case of damage.

Emergency Plan:

  • Develop an emergency plan for your boat and boat lift.
  • Ensure that you and your family know what to do and where to go if the situation becomes unsafe.

Stay Informed:

  • Monitor weather forecasts and official announcements from local authorities.
  • Stay informed about the hurricane’s progress and adjust your preparations accordingly.

After the Storm

Safety First:

  • Before performing any inspections, ensure your safety by turning off the main power supply to your boat lift.

Motor Inspection:

  • Carefully examine the boat lift motor for signs of submersion or water damage.
  • Consult a professional electrician to assess the motor’s condition and determine if replacement is necessary.

Cable Examination:

  • Have a professional examine the cable and re-cable the lift if necessary.
  • Inspect the boat lift cable for signs of wear or damage and replace it if needed.

Structural Assessment:

  • Inspect the structural components of your boat lift for any visible damage.
  • Check for deflection in I-beams or channels and signs of structural compromise.

GFCI Replacement:

  • Replace any Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) that were exposed to water during the hurricane.
  • Consult a professional electrician for proper replacement and compliance with electrical codes.

Rigging Fasteners Inspection:

  • Inspect all fasteners and hardware associated with your boat lift for signs of damage or looseness.
  • Replace damaged or missing fasteners promptly to maintain the structural integrity of the lift.

Professional Assessment:

  • Seek the expertise of a licensed electrician or a professional specializing in boat lift maintenance and repair.
  • They can provide a thorough inspection, identify potential issues, and recommend appropriate actions to ensure your boat lift operates safely and efficiently.

By following these steps, you can help ensure the safety and functionality of your boat lift before and after a hurricane, protecting your property and those around you.