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Blog | Is Your Yacht Prepared for Hurricanes and Tropical Storms?

September 18, 2015

Is Your Yacht Prepared for Hurricanes and Tropical Storms?

South Florida in general, and Ft. Lauderdale specifically, is a great place to dock your luxury motor yacht. There are miles and miles of inland waterways, filled with some of the best dockside bars and restaurants in the world. From the Ft. Lauderdale area, day trips to Bimini or the Bahamas are fun and easy. There are dozens of good reasons to dock your yacht in South Florida, but, that also means you need to be prepared for hurricanes and tropical storms.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June through November. The best way for Florida yacht owners to deal with it every year is to have a proper plan in place.

Preparedness is Key

It has been many years since a major hurricane has hit South Florida. That can lull residents and boat owners into a sense of complacency. That is a very bad idea. Despite a relatively uneventful Hurricane Season in 2014, and also a weak season in 2015, so far, remember that it “only takes one.” And, it does not take a major land falling hurricane to put your motor yacht at risk; even a tropical storm can have an impact. Since it has been over 10 years since Florida has seen the impact of a major hurricane, there are likely many first time yacht owners here in Florida, who have never experienced just how powerful and dangerous these storms can be!

David Nolan, the chairman of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science warns that this 10 year run of “good luck,” puts Florida as long overdue for a direct hit by a major storm. He also reminds yacht owners new and old, that Hurricane Andrew, one of the most devastating storms to hit South Florida in history, was the first storm that came very late during what was otherwise a “below average” hurricane season.

How Yacht Management Can Help  

There are many advantages to having your motor yacht signed up with a professional yacht management company such as Florida Yacht Management (FYM). In addition to handling all the details of managing the operations of your boat, FYM will make every effort to ensure its safety during hurricane season. FYM has a detailed preparedness plan in place for all yachts in our charge.

When a Tropical Storm Warning is announced by NOAA we begin preparations
for the storm.

All vessels currently docked in Marina Bay will be secured in Marina Bay, 4
miles inland, west of I-95 on the New River in Fort Lauderdale Florida.
2525 Marina Bay Drive West, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312. Vessels located in
alternate locations, will receive the same preparations, as follows:

  • All available fenders and docklines will be used to secure the
    vessels to the docks/floating docks.
  • All removable canvas, cushions, and loose deck equipment will be
    removed and stored indoors.
  • All hatches and seams will be blue taped.

Your vessel’s LOA determines Line Detail, as follows:

  • Under 60’ = Doubled 1⁄2” Lines (Tenders Included)
  • 60’ – 100’ = Doubled 3⁄4” Lines
  • 100’+ = Doubled 1” Lines
  • All Vessels will receive Nylon Braided Lines with locations as follows:
  • § 2 on Bow, 2 on Stern, 4 Spring Lines

For all yachts we will:

  • Deploy anchors if deemed necessary.
  • Photo documentation of preparations.

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If you Yacht is for Sale during Hurricane Season

If you yacht happens to be up for sale during hurricane season, it is also very important to work with a broker who not only understands preparedness, but some of the intricate ways in which a storm could impact an impending sale.

If your yacht is “for sale” during Storm Season:

  • Make sure alternative dockage arrangements are made well in advance.
  • Make sure you check and review your insurance policy, it may include covering the expense for a haul out.
  • Just before season starts, is a good time for fresh bottom paint.
  • Be sure to review your hurricane plan with you captain and/or management company.
  • Be sure to prepare the boat for heavy wind and rain at all angles to avoid water
    leaks and hull damage.

Remember having a hurricane survival plan and proper equipment onboard will only
further ensure a buyers confidence. Again, a relationship with a good management company can ensure your boat up for sale, is well protected during hurricane season.

Also, take note that storm damage to a yacht that is under contract for sale, but has not been closed on yet, could activate the “Force Majeure” clause of the Contract. Under Force Majeure, “If the Vessel is damaged subsequent to the Buyer’s acceptance and the necessary repairs will cost less than five percent (5%) of the Purchase Price and require fewer than thirty (30) days to complete, then the Seller must repair the damage prior to Closing.”

There are other conditions that storm damage may invoke under this clause. If you are buying or selling a yacht during hurricane season, check with your broker, and make sure you understand the risks and liabilities.

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Hurricanes and tropical storms can be unpredictable. However, one thing you can be sure of is that you have a better chance of protecting your boat, if you work with experts who understand the value of being prepared.

For more information on how to personally prepare, and protect your home or business during hurricane season, visit FEMA.

You can see live coverage of any approaching storms or bad weather at stormpulse.com.


Understanding how to protect your yacht during hurricane season can be challenging. If you would like to benefit from our expertise in these areas, or if you have any questions or comments about this blog post, do not hesitate to contact our Yacht Management specialists, or call us at 954-900-9988.

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