If you are a waterfront property owner in Florida, you are likely familiar with the impacts that tropical storms and hurricanes can have on your property and its waterfront features in particular. Some storms can leave us plenty of time to prepare, while others can form very quickly and create a stressful sense of urgency to secure your property. As a Marine Contractor and lifelong resident of Brevard County FL and having been through numerous tropical storms and hurricanes, I have some preparation suggestions that may prove beneficial in these uncertain seasonable times.
Shoreline Hurricane Preparation
If your waterfront is a rock or natural shoreline, you may be more vulnerable than if you had a hardened vertical seawall. Check for possible debris that may be accumulated along your shoreline, particularly large trees, branches or manmade objects that may have slowly appeared over time and do your best to remove and dispose of these items to prevent them from becoming possible projectiles that will wreak havoc on your upland structures. The same goes for properties with hardened seawalls. Remove any debris, large or small that may have collected in front of the seawall over time that could potentially turn into a real problem when the wind and waves reach extremes.
Dock and Boat Lift Hurricane Preparation
One of the most common questions I get from customers during approaching storms is “can I leave my boat on the lift?” While the lift and dock maybe well-built at and may be able to withstand the storm, there are other forces in play that can be a major detriment to your efforts. Neighboring boats coming loose from their moorings, older or poorly constructed docks breaking apart, and any other floating debris in the river can have damaging effects on the docks, boats or lifts that they come in contact with. I have seen neighboring docks and boats create tens of thousands of dollars of damage to neighboring properties when the event could have been avoided with basic preparation procedures.
If at all possible, take your boat off of the lift and put it on a trailer. There are some companies on the Space Coast that rent trailers and some marinas may have dry slips available for temporary storage. A little due diligence can make a big difference in this situation. Do your best to park the boat in an open area, deflate the tires to 50% and put some water in the bilge for added weight. I’ve had to do this several times myself over the years and it has proved to be a lifesaver.
Check your dock for loose framing and deck boards or lose bolts. Even a new dock may have loose bolts due to the new material shrinking. Taking a few minutes to tighten loose bolts and drive a few extra screws into older decking could make the difference. If you have a dock that you feel is vulnerable and the approaching storm is severe, some large diagonal bracing temporarily installed to the major pilings of the structure could make a huge difference between safety and disaster. For questions on this procedure, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hopefully we all are spared the brunt of this active hurricane season. But when a storm is approaching, having a basic but effective plan may make the difference between a minor event and a costly one.
Good luck out there and be safe.