Preparing Marinas and Yacht Clubs for a Hurricane

It’s the beginning of an already active Atlantic hurricane season. While preparing for hurricane season goes a long way, so does maintaining marinas throughout the season in case of unexpected or changing weather conditions. In the past 100 years, Atlantic hurricanes have wreaked havoc as far north as Halifax, Nova Scotia, and as far south as the Caribbean islands and Central America. If you operate a marina or yacht club in this hurricane-prone region, it’s not too late to take steps to control loss.

To start, it’s ideal to have a hurricane emergency action plan developed before hurricane season begins. A formal, written plan should include:

  • Assigning responsibilities to employees
  • Checking inventory
  • Providing notice to vessel owners
  • Performing a deep clean of the facility
  • Stocking emergency equipment and supplies

Your hurricane emergency action plan will guide your preparation when under a hurricane watch. Below are a few tips on how to handle a hurricane prior to its arrival:

72 to 48 Hours Prior to Hurricane

  • Begin facility protection. It’s important to inspect the yard, marina, and dock area for anything that could be threatening once the storm occurs. Secure or relocate loose equipment. Make sure to install storm shutter and other protective equipment so that it is ready for use.
  • Secure all hazardous materials, including compressed gas cylinders, in a protected area. Taking down large signs, antennas or any removable objects will reduce the danger in the facility.
  • Reduce inventories to cut cost and waste. Delay orders for materials, stocks, and supplies to do so.

48 to 36 Hours Prior to Hurricane

  • Alert all vessel owners to begin removing their vessels from the facility as early as possible. Vessels should be removed by the 36-hour mark. If any vessels remain at the facility, make sure they are fueled and as secure as possible.
  • Forklifts, trucks, travel lifts, mobile cranes, and workboats need to be moved to a protected area out of the storm’s reach.

36 Hours Prior to Hurricane

  • Perform a final check of vessels and the facility. Make sure doubled mooring lines are tied with sufficient slack and fender boards are in place.
  • Lock all perimeter access points.
  • Release personnel at least 12 hours prior to the storm.

During Hurricane

  • Remain inland if possible.
  • Do not move any vessels. Vessels may appear to become loose, but it is advised not to attempt to re-secure equipment once the storm has begun.

Once the hurricane has passed, be extremely aware of where you walk on the facility. Pay special attention to downed electrical wires or leaking gas or diesel to avoid any harm from the aftereffect of the storm. Taking preventative measures before, during, and after a hurricane can help reduce the risk and danger at your marina or yacht club.

For more tips, download our Preparing Marinas for Hurricane Season checklist.


John Venneman is Senior Marine Surveyor for Chubb’s Marine Risk Management Group. He has over 20 years of experience as a marine surveyor and risk management professional and also serves on the National Fire Protection Association’s Technical Committee on Marinas and Boatyards.

The opinions and positions expressed are the authors’ own and not those of Chubb. The information and/ or data provided herein is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Insurance coverage is subject to the language of the policies as issued.