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Hurricane Watch - Marine Safety

What is a hurricane watch?

A hurricane watch is issued when hurricane conditions are possible in the designated watch area within 36 hours. It is essential that you keep informed about the progress of the hurricane and take the necessary preparedness actions to minimize property losses and personal risk.

Here is a list of suggested precautions to take when a hurricane watch is issued.


Boat Owners and Marina Operators

The boating community almost always suffers large losses when a hurricane comes ashore. The boat owner in particular must stay abreast of the latest forecasts and positions of tropical storms and hurricanes, and be ready to act long before the storm makes its final approach.

  • Remove your boat from the water. You will not have time if you wait for the warning to be issued. Remember that you will not be the only person at your location trying to get a boat out of the water.
  • For those that cannot remove the boat from the water, secure your vessel at this time. Be sure to have plenty of extra lines, chaffing gear and fenders. Fully charge the battery if you have one.
  • Ensure your vessel is as watertight as possible.
  • Remove all equipment which is not built-in to the vessel.
  • When you are through, help your neighbors. All it takes is one incorrectly secured boat to damage many in a marina or harbor.

Offshore Boating Interests

  • Offshore interests should cancel all plans immediately. If you are out on the water, now is the time to head back to a safe port.
  • High seas and large ocean swells will move into the offshore waters well in advance of the wind field associated with the hurricane. Do not be fooled. Swells of 10 to 20 feet will test even the most seasoned sailor.
  • Should you need assistance at sea: call the coast guard as soon as possible.

If you follow these steps when a hurricane watch is issued, you will be better prepared and ready to act quickly and calmly should the watch be upgraded to a warning.


Learn more about Hurricane Preparedness from the National Hurricane Center.

April to May of each year is the best time to take action to protect your family and property.


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Page last modified: December 5, 2005

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