Hurricane Dorian: The Preparation Edition

Almost one year ago exactly, we were doing the exact same thing that we’ve been doing for the past week:  preparing for a hurricane expected to whallop us.  We made it through Hurricane Florence in 2018 just like we’ve made it through all of the other tropical storms and hurricanes before it, and we’ll make it through Hurricane Dorian as well.  The tropical storm force winds and tornadoes have begun here, and we should feel the brunt of the hurricane overnight.

Preparing a boat to ride out a major storm event is no picnic.  It took us two and a half days to get Kestrel ready, hauled, and put on the hard.  The upside of living through so many tropical storms and hurricanes is that we have an extensive prep list, and that keeps us from forgetting anything important.  I thought I’d publish that list here in the event it can help anyone else.

Keep in mind that this list is tailored to having our boat hauled for the hurricane, which is always our preferred method.  It also assumes that we will not be aboard during the hurricane and have evacuated somewhere else by car.


  • Remove genoa, staysail, and mainsail
  • Secure roller furling drums: we put a shackle through the drum so it cannot turn
  • Secure all halyards, sheets, misc. lines:  we zip-tie all lines to something stationary
  • Secure boom:  we tie two lines from the end of the boom to padeyes on each edge of the transom, forming a V
  • Remove whisker pole
  • Remove boom vang
The mainsail has been removed, and we’ve secured all lines using zipties and bungees.


  • Secure anchor in bow roller and remove anchor chain:  we tie the anchor roll bar to the bowsprit and run a safety line from the shank to a cleat
  • Tape off anchor rode entry points: we use a large size TruPlug
  • Remove or secure windlass cover
  • Remove or secure hatch covers: we tape our Outland hatch covers to the hatch so that the hatch itself is still protected from debris
  • Remove dorades and tape off caps
  • Remove port screens
  • Close Nicro vent and tape
  • Close head vent
  • Remove rugs, DriDek, and covers
  • Remove flag
  • Strap down binnacle cover
  • Drop dinghy and store ashore
  • Remove outboard motors
  • Remove or secure davit lines
  • Remove dodger, bimini, and awnings
  • Remove jerry can racks
  • Remove all rail-mounted items
  • Remove loose items in cockpit
  • Remove solar panel
  • Remove or secure wind generator blades
  • Close lazarette hatches
  • Secure rudder
  • Inspect scuppers for blockage and ensure no blockages are probable
  • Insert hatchboards and tape
We’ve removed the dodger and bimini, solar panel, outboard motors, davit lines, and winch covers. The boom is secured with two lines running to padeyes. The binnacle cover has been strapped down, and lines and the swim ladder have been ziptied.
We’ve removed all loose items in the cockpit and ziptied our sheets. The hatchboards are inserted, locked shut, and taped with preservation tape.

Below Deck

  • Fill water tank
  • Fill diesel tank
  • Close fuel tank valve
  • Fill propane tanks
  • Turn off propane
  • Fill water jugs
  • Clear aft cabin bilge area
  • Ensure bilge pump filters are clean
  • Check bilge pump is operational and left on “auto”
  • Turn on sump pump
  • Secure loose items
  • Turn off head vent fan
  • Turn off all AC and DC power and battery switches
  • Turn off solar power and wind generator
  • Remove refrigerator/freezer items and defrost freezer
  • Open seacocks to drain water and then close all through-hulls
  • Cover/bag settee cushions and mattresses

Boat Yard

  • Check jack stands and add more as necessary
  • Ensure jack stands are chained
  • Remove any loose items near boat
  • Ensure yard has contact information
We have extra jack stands placed. It’s important to make sure that the jack stands are chained together under the boat so that they don’t shift outward and let the boat list to one side or the other. An unbalanced boat is a boat that falls over.


  • Fill car with gas
  • Determine evacuation location
  • Determine evacuation route
  • Charge all electronic devices
  • Get cash
  • Notify family of evacuation plans
  • Take pictures of interior and exterior of boat, including surrounding area
  • Pack evacuation items:
    • three days of food and water
    • Pelican box with all important paperwork and ID documents
    • ship’s log
    • rain gear, clothes, shoes
    • prescription and OTC medications
    • personal hygiene items
    • all computers and electronics
    • flashlights, headlamps, and spotlights
    • box with alkaline and rechargeable batteries
    • communication devices:  satellite phone, Iridium GO!, Inreach, VHF radios, all chargers
    • sentimental irreplacables