Hurricane season on the Atlantic coast typically runs from June 1st through November 30th. It comes every year, although the timing and severity of individual storms vary within that window. Those that have lived through the big ones know that sometimes you get lucky, but it’s always smart to be prepared.
As someone smarter than me once said, “It’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.” Taking that advice to heart, we’ve compiled a hurricane preparedness checklist for your RV, boat, and home.
How To Prepare Your RV For a Hurricane
One tried-and-true method for avoiding RV damage during hurricane season is to plan an RV trip and avoid this region altogether. Create an evacuation plan. Determine where you will go in case of an evacuation order and plan your route. Make sure you have a full tank of gas and a map in case GPS isn’t available.
Here are some resources to help you plan and prepare for a safe and efficient RV trip away from the storm’s path.
Storing Your RV During a Hurricane
If you are storing your RV at your home or a storage facility during hurricane season, follow these steps to prepare.
- Remove all important documentation (registration, manuals, warranty and insurance information, etc.) and place it in a watertight container away from the RV.
- Park your RV in a safe, preferably sheltered space on solid ground. Try not to park your RV under trees to avoid falling branches.
- Close all slideouts, awnings, and underneath storage compartments.
- Close and lock all doors, windows, and roof vents.
- If you have an RV cover, now is a good time to use it as added protection.
- Cover your RV, tires, and propane containers.
- Check for and remove any obvious outdoor items that could blow into your RV, like pots, planters, outdoor furniture, etc.
RV Hurricane Preparedness Gear Checklist
It may only be feasible to evacuate your area for part of the hurricane season. So here’s a checklist of key items that will help you prepare your RV for severe storms.
- RV Cover: If you really intend to ride out the storms, covering your RV is a good way to limit damage from hail and other flying objects.
- Portable Generator: If there’s a regional power outage to your home, you can escape to your RV for the comfort of air conditioning if you’re equipped with a generator.
- Tire Covers: Supplement your RV cover with added protection for your RV’s foundation.
- Propane Container Cover: Your LP containers should always be covered, but it’s even more important with the added risk of flying debris.
- Wheel Chocks: Ensure your towable RV doesn’t move when wind speeds increase.
- Automatic LP Shutoff: This emergency shutoff device works with fixed and portable propane systems.
- Self-Leveling Lap Sealant: Checks all RV seams and apply sealant where needed to protect your RV from leaks.
- Water Containers: Prepare water reserves if your city or well water becomes undrinkable for an extended period.
What to Do If You’re RVing During Hurricane Season
If your RV trip along the Eastern seaboard includes a hurricane warning, here are some tips to help you avoid personal and property damage.
- Move your RV as far from the coast and other bodies of water as possible if you have time.
- Avoid driving into pools of water deeper than your ankles.
- Avoid parking your RV in deep sand or near a hillside with minimal vegetation. Look for parking spots where you’re sheltered from wind gusts.
- Seek shelter in a solid structure during the storm. Tornadoes can come out of nowhere. Do not ride out the storm in your RV.
- Fill up your RV’s freshwater tank and stock additional water in a reserve container.
Remember that you and your family’s health come before the wellbeing of your RV. When forced with a tough decision, prioritize getting yourself to higher ground and in a location out of harm’s way over staying with your RV.
How To Prepare Your Boat For a Hurricane
Your boat is also a significant investment to protect from wind and water damage. Removing it from the water and keeping it in a covered storage area is smart if you live in a region impacted by seasonal hurricanes.
Here are a few other tips to prepare your boat for a hurricane:
- Remove all important documentation and place it in a watertight container away from the boat, along with a current photo of your vessel.
- Remove all movable equipment and sales, such as biminis, dinghies, and radios.
- Secure anything you cannot remove, such as tillers, booms, and wheels.
- Turn off the electrical system and remove the battery and/or portable fuel tank.
- Document any items of value left inside the boat, such as wakeboards, towable tubes, life jackets, paddleboards, etc.
- Cover your boat to reduce the possibility of interior damage.
- Consult your marina or storage area to know your responsibilities and liabilities.
If you’re removing your boat from the water and storing it on a trailer during a storm, here are a few additional considerations:
- Check the tires, wheel bearings, and axle to ensure your trailer is in good condition and ready to tow your boat.
- At your storage location, lash your boat and place wheel chocks on either side of each wheel.
- Use heavy nylon lines to secure your boat down to fixed objects nearby. It’s best to secure all four sides down to screw anchors. DO NOT TIE YOUR BOAT TO A TREE!
Boat Hurricane Preparedness Checklist
These gear items will help you complete the steps above:
- Boat Cover: Protect your boat’s interior from rain, hail, and flying debris.
- Marine Tie-Downs: Secure your boat to your trailer if removing it from the water before a storm.
- Dry Boxes: For storing your important documentation and other water-sensitive gear.
- Battery Charger: Keep your marine battery charged if you remove it from your boat.
- Dock Lines: Ensure you have enough lines to secure your boat and anything left inside.
- Wheel Chocks: Keep your boat trailer in place in high winds.
How To Prepare Your Home For a Hurricane
If you’re a full-time RVer, your motorhome or travel trailer is your home, and it’s best to get out of the storm’s path. For everyone else, hurricane season preparedness requires caring for our homes without wheels. Let’s explore tips to prepare your home for a hurricane:
- Obtain an alternative energy source by purchasing a portable generator or installing a whole-home backup generator. Read these portable generator safety tips.
- Install storm shutters to reduce the risk of window damage.
- Stock up on food, water, and fuel with a portable electric cooler and a portable fuel tank.
- Fill up freshwater reserves by utilizing a large water container.
- Inspect your yard for hanging branches or loose debris that can fall and damage your home.
- Reseal exterior wall openings such as those around windows, doors, vents, outdoor electrical outlets, and locations where cables or pipes enter your home.
- Secure outdoor patio furniture and planters inside your garage or a covered indoor storage area.
- Install hurricane-proof exterior doors with at least three hinges and a one-inch deadbolt lock.
- Inspect garage doors and tracks and replace them with components approved for wind pressure and impact protection.
- Review your insurance policy to understand your coverage if you need to file a claim in the storm’s aftermath. Customize a Good Sam insurance policy with the protections that are right for you, your RV, and your region.
How Do You Prepare Your RV, Boat, and Home During Hurricane Season?
We asked. You answered.
Here are some tips from RV owners on their strategies for protecting their assets during hurricane season:
“I fill everything, including my 6 gas cans, with fuel. At least then, I can run my generator. I ran my RV generator for an hour today just to make sure it’s ready to go.”
“We move it to a safe location with us.”
“Hook the boat up to the RV and take a road trip. Deal with the house afterwards if it was affected.”
“Have plenty of insurance on it.”
“I have six anchors in the ground and clamp to the frame, leaving it set up / leveled but the slides in. There is adequate side wind break, but I park the truck in front of it as well. I have only been through Ian and not severe at that. But, that’s what I do. Almost the same as when I had boats, which I would expect to be more susceptible to wind, but was ok as such through a few good storms, including Irma. I guess I should say this is done when a storm is imminent. Nothing otherwise for the season itself.”
“Travel far far away.”
“I drive north.”
The right preparation can save lives and money when considering the ramifications of hurricane season. Save these tips and checklists to stay prepared for the next hurricane season.
What else would you add to your RV, boat, or home hurricane preparedness checklist? Let us know in the comments below.