Hurricane Preparation

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2011 • all rights reserved

Hurricane preparation begins long before a hurricane is bearing down on you.  If your boat is in hurricane waters, check out these helpful articles for everything from getting forecasts to ground tackle and boat prep to the aftermath.

Hurricane preparation articles — based on our experiences — were among the first that I wrote for cruisers. Following our experiences in Hurricane Marty in 2003, I wrote about hurricane preparation (in a hurricane hole, not at sea), what anchoring systems had worked, and helping boats afterwards.

As you might guess, all the usual warnings apply and you must take responsibility for your own actions and decisions.  I will not be responsible.  These articles are presented just to give you information, not to tell you what to do in any particular situation. If your boat is in hurricane waters, I strongly urge you to read up on hurricane preparation and come up with a hurricane plan long before a hurricane is bearing down on you.

NOTE: Some of my articles are outdated — hurricane tracking software that’s no longer available and an anchoring study that does not include any new generation anchor — and I deliberately did not include those here.

Hurricane Preparation at Anchor

  • Hurricane Warning — Riding Out a Big Blow at Anchor — this is my most comprehensive article and provides dozens of tips for things to do long before hurricane season as well as in preparing for one.  If you only read one of my hurricane preparation articles, this is the one I recommend.
  • Preparing the Galley for a Storm — Rule Number 1:  Prepare above decks first!  But here are a few tips so that you won’t bury all the food under the sails or have knives fly out of drawers.

Ground Tackle for a Hurricane

  • Staying Put:  Ground Tackle for a Hurricane summarizes the experiences of the boats in Puerto Escondido, near Loreto, Mexico in the Sea of Cortez during Hurricane Marty in 2003.  NOTE: While much of this info is still good, no one there had a new generation anchor and therefore does not include any of them.


  • Re-Floating Winsome tells the story of how a determined group of cruisers refloated a boat that was driven way up on a beach during Hurricane Marty.  In addition to the narrative, it contains a detailed analysis of what we did right and what could certainly have been improved upon.

From Other Sites

  • After the Hurricane — another great list from with 10 tips for checking your boat after the hurricane passes

Do you know of some other good hurricane how-to articles?  I’d like to develop a really comprehensive list not of just my articles, but any that are available on the internet.  If you can, provide a link below, but if you don’t have a link, just give me as much info as you can remember and I’ll see what I can find.

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  1. Samm Souvigny on Facebook says:

    Thank u soo much~ was a big help in our scattered brains w a million things going other then~ wht could we have missed~ an ur quick responce~ thank you guys soo much for this page~ seems I’m viewing more n more~ thank u again~ all stay safe Xo

  2. Stay safe!

  3. One more “tip” — while we like a beer or wine as much as anyone, we have a rule that while we’re prepping for a storm, no alcohol. If the storm speeds up or becomes worse than forecast, we don’t need to be impaired. Once it’s past, then it’s (hopefully) time for the party . . .

  4. Samm Souvigny on Facebook says:

    Lol~ I hear ya~ we normally don’t drink anyway~ but I could see needing one after all the chaos! Ill make sure to grab a bottle for after! 😉 lol

  5. Ann Snider on Facebook says:

    Just called the marina we’re wintering in and we’re heading in on Saturday (storm to be here Sunday night/Monday/Tuesday). It’s REALLY protected – way more than the mouth of the harbor where we were! Yeah, it will cost us a week’s docking but that’s OK. One less thing to worry about!! We’ll secure the best we can and….that’s what insurance is for!

  6. Be sure to get your jib off and check other requirements that the insurance company has. In Marty, many people found they weren’t covered because they’d left jibs and/or mains on.

  7. Ann Snider on Facebook says:

    Yep – Jib will be down along with the canvas. I think we may leave the main on since that is a pain to put back up and since we’re wet storing this winter, we’d like to still get some sailing in but the jib is pretty easy. The main will be well tied down with the sail cover on. Where we will be is all the way up inside the harbor, well inland from the opening and it turns so there is land on all 4 sides other than the small channel. Our only issue would be surge and we hope the marina has high enough pilings.

  8. Stay safe!

  9. Hey Carolyn,

    Thanks again for all you share with us. I’ve linked to you in my latest post and included a few other resources you may be interested in. Here’s a link to that post:



  10. Really helpful info.

  11. We went to the boat here on Long Island yesterday to prep and already it was really windy and would have been tricky to get the job down. Normally you have decent weather before a hurricane but not the east coast! It is crazy!

  12. I know you will take all precautions in anticipation of a hurricane, but I worry about you and the “water home” you’ve put so much in to. … hugs.

  13. Where are you?

  14. What storm shelter are you going to? “They” are calling for 10 to 15 here. It certainly is a large area of weather. We might move in the morning depending on where it is. Stay safe…xx

  15. If this stengthens, it could be very nasty.

  16. We are in the Central Exumas (Black Point Settlement), Bahamas.

  17. Be safe.

  18. Are you going to Warderick Wells?

  19. Be safe.

  20. Stay safe Carolyn

  21. Stay safe y’all.

  22. Plan B- check mooring lines, lock hatch, visit friends in Dallas.

  23. Be Safe….

  24. Prayers for your safety.

  25. Stay safe! Prayers!!

  26. Be safe, prepare well, and know that we will be sending up prayers.

  27. Stay safe

  28. Be safe!

  29. Be safe. I’ll be watching for a posting when it blows through. We’ve been through 3 hurricanes . Do all you can, hang on and pray.

  30. prayers, be safe

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