Hurricane Irene recently demonstrated that both coastal and inland trailer boaters should prepare for storms. BoatU.S. offers some advice for storing your trailer boat in a backyard, driveway or marina parking lot.
Check the trailer: Inspect your trailer now to ensure it will be operable when needed. Bearings should be greased, tires inflated and lights working.
Plan your escape: Map out an evacuation route and decide early if you’re going to take the boat or leave it behind. Bridges may restrict boat traffic.
Take it home: Remove all loose gear such as fenders, cushions, fishing rods, tackle boxes and electronics, and store at home; this includes the boat's papers.
Garage it: If you have to choose between putting the boat or car in the garage, pick the boat; it’s lighter and more vulnerable to winds. If you have to store a trailer boat outside, place the rig next to a building (on the lee side of the storm) for protection. Keep it away from trees.
Tilt it: Remove the transom and cockpit drain plugs and tilt the trailer tongue up so water exits aft through scuppers or the drain hole. Let some air out of trailer tires and chock the wheels.
Twist it: Tighten gas caps to prevent water from entering. Secure hatches.
Bye-bye Bimini: Remove the Bimini top. Lower and lash sailboat masts, and remove sails. Install towing or mooring covers, and secure with extra line.
Strap it: Secure the boat to the trailer with line or straps. For extra protection, anchor the boat and trailer rig with screw-type ground anchors if possible.
Fill it up: Place small, lightweight outboard-powered boats and paddle craft on the ground and partially fill with a garden hose to add weight. If you keep the boat on a trailer, add blocks between the trailer frame and springs to support the added weight.
Let it down: Boats on lifts should be stored ashore or moved to a safer location on the water. If you must leave a boat on its lift, remove the drain plug so the weight of rainwater won’t collapse the lift. Securely tie the boat to its lifting machinery to prevent it from swinging or drifting away. Plug the engine exhaust outlet and strip the boat. Make sure cockpit drains are free of debris. –BoatU.S.