Sometimes, parts of the UK and Ireland are hit by freak weather conditions. 

Unfortunately, it’s an unpleasant reminder that the possibility of a storm causing damage to your boat while it’s in a marina over winter is all too real. That’s why we’ve created a guide on how to prepare your boat for a storm. 

Here you’ll find plenty of tips to help ensure your boat is well-equipped to handle any extreme storm weather that may come its way while in the marina during the winter months.


1. Begin by un-stepping your mast 

Many marinas state in their terms and conditions that your mast must be un-stepped over the winter season, which is extremely sensible. 

Strong storm winds are likely to catch your mast and blow the boat over if it’s up, which not only causes costly damage to your boat but also to the surrounding boats—which you may end up paying to fix—which is why specialist boat insurance could be a huge help. 

We also recommend removing your boat’s bimini top, as many are lightweight and no match for strong stormy winds—meaning there’s a strong chance of it being blown away over the winter.

Related: The complete guide to winterising a boat 


2. Tidy your deck

This might sound obvious, but make sure your deck is free of loose items. This could include flags, fishing rods, life rings, grills, cushions, etc. 

If strong winds hit, heavier items onboard will be the most likely things to become airborne and do some serious damage, plus you don’t want to risk losing your gear. 

Pay extra attention to tying down or dismantling and removing any heavier items of furniture that could be blown away or cause damage to your boat, such as any tables or chairs you have on deck.

These can be easily overlooked when preparing your boat for a storm. 


3. Install a strong mooring line

When preparing your boat for a storm, this could be the difference between it surviving a storm in good condition or not. 

Make sure you use a strong, thick mooring line, and tie it to as many points as possible. Also, be sure to tie up your fenders, as you don’t want those blowing about in the storm, either. 

Related: Guide to selecting a mooring rope 


4. Cover all lines with chafe protectors

Chafing occurs over time and is inevitable at some point. But it’s especially common during harsh weather conditions, and preventing it is a huge part of preparing your boat for a storm. 

Using tape, leather, or rubber hoses (a double neoprene garden hose will work), wrap your lines to protect them and your boat from the wear and tear of holding up against rough seas. 

This is especially important around chocks, as they’re particularly vulnerable to chafing. 

If you haven’t already, install fenders or tires around your boat to protect it and any surrounding vessels from damage. This will prevent it from rubbing against piers and pilings too. 


5. Remove electrical devices and connections

Just because electronics are inside your boat doesn’t mean they won’t feel the effects of a storm, too—it’s important to consider them during your boat storm preparation. 

If strong winds start to blow your boat around, any electrical items plugged in could be torn out of the socket and damage both the item and the electrical connection. 

They could easily be submerged in water, too—it goes without saying that valuable electronics should be the first thing you remove when preparing your boat for a storm. 

You should also ensure that all unremovable electrical equipment, except the automatic bilge pumps, is turned off. They’re essential for keeping excess water from pooling inside the boat, so you should consider adding backup batteries to keep them running throughout the storm. 

Related: 10 essential items to have on your boat 


6. Speak to your neighbours

You may have taken the necessary winter and storm preparation for your boat, but have your neighbours?

Speak with them to ensure they’ve taken the same precautions you have. If they’ve not secured something down properly—it puts your boat at risk, too, so keep an eye out for anything your neighbouring boats have missed.


7. Be prepared for storms with boat insurance

Even when taking all precautions, there’s no guarantee that your boat will come out completely unscathed. 

To have peace of mind in the worst-case scenarios, you may want to take out specialist boat insurance to keep your vessel protected when moored up, even during a storm.

If you already have cover, keep all your policy documents safe alongside your equipment inventory, boat registration, and recent photos of the boat. You should also have a copy of your agreement with the boat storage facility to hand. 


Specialist boat insurance with Insure4Boats 

At Insure4Boats, all policies can be tailor-made to your exact needs. If you sail your boat all year round and keep it in a marina between 31 October to 1 April, you may want to consider our winter cover add-on to help keep your boat protected.

Frosty weather is an inevitable part of the UK winter too. You can also protect your boat against loss or damage due to frost or freezing with our frost cover add-on.

Click here to learn more, or use the button below to get an instant online quote.

Please note the information provided on this page should not be taken as advice and has been written as a matter of opinion. For more on insurance cover and policy wording, see our homepage.