Hurricanes are an unfortunate fact of life in the Coastal Bend. Even if Corpus Christi does not get a direct hit, high winds and tides will do severe damage, especially to boats. As a boater, you alone are responsible for securing your vessel before a storm.
The City of Corpus Christi strongly urges boaters to REMOVE BOATS FROM THE CITY MARINA. There are many safe locations on land for your boat, but you must plan procedures now. Do not wait until a storm is hours away—there will not be enough time.
If you choose to leave your boat in the City Marina, remember that you will be responsible for any damages done by your vessel to others. During Hurricane Allen, one boat broke loose and destroyed twenty-four vessels.
This checklist will help you prepare for a hurricane. If followed, the suggested time schedule, safety equipment, and precautions will reduce the possibility of damage to your boat, but it is not a guarantee. All storms are different and cannot be predicted in terms of wind speeds and tide changes once they make landfall. Taking your boat out of the City Marina and securing it on land is the only sure way to reduce the potential for damage.
HURRICANE SEASON is from JUNE 1 to NOVEMBER 30
- Contact the Marina Superintendent now for advice on security for your particular boat.
- Record your boat’s registration, engine numbers, and description. Take a picture of it. Keep the information in a safe place. It may be needed for insurance purposes.
- Know where you will take your boat and how you will get it there. Secure permissions and make arrangements for getting it onto a trailer. If you plan to anchor out, or move to a safe harbor, make a practice run to check accessibility and time needed to get there.
- Keep your fuel tank full at all times. There is no time or supply just before a storm.
- Keep batteries fully charged and make sure the bilge pump is in working order.
- Keep all equipment on hand. It will be nearly impossible to find in an emergency.
- If you keep your emergency equipment in a gear box rented from the City Marina, remember that crews start hauling boxes away when a HURRICANE WARNING is issued. Your equipment could be gone when you need it.
- Lay in a supply of line. Get adequate length (several hundred feet) and size (5/8” minimum) for your boat and use nylon—it is strong and stretches. Get a lot more than you think you will need.
- Plan to use old automobile tires as fenders to protect your boat from pilings, piers, the seawall, and other boats.
- Have rags on hand to use as chafing gear to protect lines from wear at contact points.
- Make sure your Marina Pass is current. You will not be allowed to enter the City Marina in an emergency without your pass.
- If you plan to be out of town during Hurricane Season, delegate responsibility for securing your vessel to someone knowledgeable about boats. Make sure they know where your equipment and Marina Pass are kept.
HURRICANE WATCH means hurricane conditions are possible within 24 to 36 hours.
- Monitor weather advisories issued at 5 AM, 11 AM, 5 PM and 11 PM by the National Weather Service.
- Prepare to move your boat from the City Marina.
- Strip your boat of all removable equipment-sails, canvas, cushions, radios, dinghies, etc.—and lash down things that can not be removed such as tiller, wheels, booms, etc.
- Seal all openings to make the boat as watertight as possible.
HURRICANE WARNING is the action notice. Hurricane Conditions are expected within 24 hours, but storm paths change quickly and the warning may come 10 hours or less before landfall.
- Remember: Boats are NOT allowed to anchor in the open waters of the City Marina to ride out storms or hurricanes.
- Do not depend on City Marina personnel to assist you during a WARNING. They are responsible for securing the entire Marina and overseeing evacuation proceedings.
- To secure your boat on a trailer:
- Place wooden blocks between the frame and axle inside each wheel
- Let about half the air out of the tires
- Fill the boat 1/3 full of water to weight it down. The blocks prevent damage to the springs from the additional weight - OR
- Take your boat off the trailer and fill 1/3 full of water
- Tie the trailer down or haul it away.
- If you take your boat to safe harbor, leave early. There may not be room at the last minute. Cooperate with other boaters in securing vessels as long as it is safe.
- Do not attempt to leave the area unless you have a very fast boat and are prepared to travel long distances in rough weather. RESCUE EFFORTS ARE IMPOSSIBLE.
- NEVER attempt to check your boat during the eye of a hurricane. Although calm, the eye is unpredictable and brief.