Protecting your boat
Boat owners should plan early to avoid congestion on the water and on the road. Never try to ride out a storm on a boat.
Securing your boat at home
If you can put your boat in a garage, that's your best option. If you must leave your boat on a trailer, remove important papers, equipment and anything that could blow away. Park the trailer near the building.
Lash it down with chains or heavy ropes, away from objects that could fall on it.
Add weight to the boat by filling no more than halfway with water. Overfilling could damage the trailer.
Remove outboard motors.
Let some of the air out of the tires and place blocks beneath the wheels to prevent the trailer from moving.
Securing your boat at the marina
Experts say that it's always best to store your boat during a hurricane. Here's what to do when hauling your boat out of the water isn't an option.
"Spiderweb" technique: Boats left in boat slips should be secured by ropes in an arrangement that resembles a spiderweb. This allows boats to be bounced around by a storm yet still remain in position.
Finding a safe harbor
If you can't remove your boat from the water, move it to the safest refuge possible.
Emergency authorities will announce over marine radio the details of flotilla plans, which are designed to move the most boats in the shortest period of time.
Ground traffic gets priority in an evacuation, and drawbridges are locked down within hours, which severely limits boat traffic.
Sources: South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Tampabayfish.com, BoatUS Marine Insurance