How to prepare your watercraft for Hurricane Matthew

MIAMI (WSVN) - As South Florida residents prepare their homes and families for the arrival of Hurricane Matthew, boat owners have to consider precautionary measures of their own.

Boat owners in South Florida have a very important decision to make — whether to keep their vessels docked on the water, or whether to transfer them to either an enclosed or exposed shelter or storage unit at the marina.

Jimmy Wickett, a charter fishing captain at Pelican Harbor with more than 15 years of experience, told 7News it is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to deciding what to do with your boat during a storm.

Wickett hitched his boat onto a trailer and will be getting it out of the marina as soon as possible due to the strength and unpredictability of Matthew.

“You don’t know with these winds,” he said. “I mean, they’re saying we could get winds of over 100 miles an hour, and you don’t know which way the storm is going to go, so I’d rather be safe than be sorry and just pull it out, so it doesn’t get banged up.”

But if docking your boat on land is not an option, don’t fret — tying down your vessel with extra lines will be just fine in certain areas. “You know, most of these boats here in this marina will probably be fine with a few extra lines on them,” added Wickett, “but we’d rather just take all precautions as we can and do it that way.”

The only issue with this option is that the harsh winds and waves may leave your boat with minor damage.

Wickett says he will be dry docking his boat.

In Haulover Beach, similar preparations were on their way throughout Tuesday. The North Marina was filled with boat owners dragging their boats out of the water and onto trailers to be docked on land.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Coast Guard urged boat owners to stay off the water for the next few days due to Matthew’s size and strength, which is expected to churn up the seas hundreds of miles away from the eye of the hurricane.

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