Hurricane Safety Tips for Boat Owners: Protecting Your Vessel in Key West

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Boaters who visit and stay at the Key West Bight Marina cherish the ability to explore the many extraordinary shops, unique eateries, and exciting activities and events available all year round at the surrounding Key West Historic Seaport. When asked why they keep coming back, the uniform response is “the pleasing atmosphere, friendly staff, and affordable rates.”

However, as a boat owner, it is extremely important to safeguard your vessel during severe weather events, especially during hurricane season. The destructive power of hurricanes, including in Key West, can wreak havoc on boats if they are not adequately secured in advance of a storm. In this blog post, we will explore essential hurricane safety tips for boat owners to ensure your boat is secure during hurricane season.

a weather map with a large hurricane in the atlantic ocean.

Monitor Weather Forecasts

First, stay vigilant by monitoring weather updates from reliable sources like the National Weather Service, Monroe County Emergency Management, and the City of Key West government. Keep a close eye on severe weather alerts, hurricane warnings, watches, and evacuation orders in your area. Early awareness will provide you with sufficient time to put into place your hurricane preparedness plan.

a rope tied to a boat.

Secure Your Boat

If a hurricane is approaching, you must take steps to secure your boat properly. Begin by moving your vessel to a safe location. If relocation is not possible, secure your boat in its current location by using sturdy mooring lines, doubling or tripling them for extra strength. Inspect cleats, chocks, and other hardware to ensure they are in good condition and able to withstand high winds and storm surge.

Inspect and Reinforce Docking and Anchoring Equipment

Inspect your docking and anchoring equipment to ensure it is in optimal condition. Replace worn-out lines, frayed ropes, or weak shackles. Consider using longer lines and adding additional fenders to protect your boat from rough waves and potential impacts during the storm.

gps on boat

Remove Valuables and Electronics

Before a hurricane hits, remove all valuables, important documents, and electronic equipment from your boat. Store them in a secure, waterproof container in a safe location away from the storm’s path. This precaution will help protect your belongings from damage or loss due to flooding or severe weather conditions.

Reduce Windage

Reduce the windage on your boat by removing any canvas covers, sails, biminis, or other loose items that could be torn off by strong winds. Secure hatches, doors, and windows with additional fasteners or storm shutters to minimize the risk of water entering the vessel.

Have a Communication Plan and Follow Local Authorities’ Instructions

Establish a communication plan with friends, family, and local authorities. Share your whereabouts and intentions with someone you trust. Keep your mobile phone fully charged and consider investing in a portable, waterproof charger. Additionally, have a battery-powered radio to stay informed in case of power outages. Of course, always follow the instructions and recommendations of local authorities during a hurricane. If they advise evacuating the area, heed their advice promptly. Your safety and that of your loved ones should always take precedence over your boat.

monroe county emergency management logo


After the storm has passed and it’s safe to return to where your boat is located, make sure to contact your insurance agent to notify them of any damage to the vessel. It’s important to take clear photographs and even videos that are dated to the period just following the storm.


As a boat owner, taking the necessary precautions and implementing a well-thought-out hurricane preparedness plan is paramount! By closely monitoring weather conditions, securing your vessel, and being proactive in your approach, you can significantly increase the chances of minimizing damage to your boat and ensuring your safety during hurricane season or other strong weather-related events. Remember, the safety of your loved ones and yourself should be your top priority, and by taking the right steps in advance of a storm, you can stay prepared, stay safe, and protect your boat during hurricane season.

For more information on hurricane preparedness, visit The City of Key West’s website or Monroe County Emergency Management.

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