How To Prevent Boat Damage In A Natural Disaster

How To Prevent Boat Damage In A Natural Disaster

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Recent hurricanes and other natural disasters have everybody thinking about preventing possible damage to their homes and property.

Boat owners face a unique set of risks and require specific preparation to prevent unnecessary loss.

West Coast boat owners can potentially deal with a whole range of natural disasters. We’ll explain exactly how to be prepared and what to do when one occurs.

Let’s review strategies designed to reduce costly boat damage.

Hurricanes and Tropical Cyclones

Hurricanes are most prevalent on the East Coast of the U.S., but we do occasionally see their influence on the West Coast.

Tropical Cyclones are the hurricanes of the West and can be equally damaging.

Preparation Is Key

Every boat and boat owner needs an emergency plan.

Always have copies of the following documents:

  • Insurance policies
  • Boat registration
  • Inventory list of equipment
  • Lease agreement with the marina
  • Recent photos or videos of your boat (to note condition)

These documents will be very important when reconciling insurance claims.

Maintaining your boat monthly can protect you from boat damage during unexpected storms. This routine maintenance includes fixing seals, repairing fiberglass, and fixing gel coats.

Securing Your Boat


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) notes that the best way to secure a boat is by trailering it and taking it to high ground.

Taking air out of the trailer tires can help to increase traction and prevent it from moving during high winds. Also, you can fill your boat halfway with water to weigh it down.

Boats On Lifts

Boats that remain on lifts during storms sustain more damage than if they were either in the water or on land.

If you must leave your boat on the lift, be sure to remove all the drain plugs on the boat. Accumulating water will make the boat extremely heavy.

Boats in the Water

Roughly 50% of damage caused to docked boats could be prevented by using correct dock lines:

  • 1/2 ” line for boats up to 25 feet in length
  • 5/8″ line for boats 25 feet to 34 feet
  • 3/4 ” to 1″ lines for larger boats


Make sure you’re set to receive Tsunami notifications from the NOAA and emergency calls from the local harbormaster.

A tsunami is caused by an earthquake beneath the sea floor, which in turn causes water surges that can be particularly dangerous in harbors and bays.

In the event of a tsunami, your response should be based on where you’re located:

  • If you’re tied to the dock, get off the boat and head to high ground on foot.
  • If on the water, but very near shore, try to beach or dock the boat and head to high ground.
  • If you cannot reach the shore, head for deep water.

We’re Here to Help You Prevent Boat Damage

Whether you’re preparing your boat for an impending storm or fixing boat damage afterward, contact us for comprehensive boat services.

We service boats of all shapes and sizes with excellent customer care.

Orange County Dockside Service is based in Newport Beach, CA and serves the Orange and Los Angeles Counties from Dana Point to Marina Del Rey. We specialize in mechanical repair, topside maintenance, fiberglass repair and restoration, bottom cleaning and antifouling, electronics installations, rigging, and much more.