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Preparing your boat for hurricane season

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Growing up in a small beach town on Florida's west coast, I'm familiar with the damage hurricanes can cause individual properties and communities. While the storms create the conditions for damage to occur, it's often improper preparation that causes the most damage and creates dangerous situations. Boat owners are advised to properly store and secure their vessels to prevent damage to the boat as well as property surrounding the vessel.

June 1 marks the beginning of hurricane season. Here are a few tips boat owners should familiarize themselves with in the event of a storm.

     -Create a storm plan: Know where to put miscellaneous electronic equipment that may be on board as well as important paperwork to prevent damage to those items.

     -If your boat is on a trailer: move it from water, trees and power lines. Ensure that the boat is properly secured to the trailer. Put wooden blocks near the wheel axles. Fill the boat halfway with water.

    -If your boat is staying in a slip on the water: Check the strength of all cleats and ensure the bilge pump and all other electronic equipment is working properly. Triple all lines on the pilings at various heights and lengths to secure the boat as much as possible.

These tips will help ensure that your boat is well secured in the event of a hurricane or tropical storm. Hopefully, you won't need to use them often!