Houseboats are beautiful and luxurious places to spend some time off during favorable weather conditions. However, can a houseboat survive a hurricane?
Although it depends on the hurricane's intensity, a houseboat that is caught in the path of a hurricane will most likely not survive. Large waves, storm surges, and debris can easily damage or even capsize some of the largest houseboats, meaning you will have to take steps to protect them.
If a hurricane is headed towards your houseboat, this is undoubtedly a cause for great concern. Accordingly, there are several steps you can take to ensure that your houseboat remains protected from the worst of the hurricane, and if nothing else, makes it out in one piece. We will discuss some of the options you have at your disposal to protect your houseboat from an imminent hurricane.
As the writers of tons of houseboat buying guides, we have the experience to bring you the best information on whether a houseboat can survive a hurricane and what you can do to protect it.
Can a Houseboat Survive a Hurricane?
Although most houseboats are designed to survive minor storm surges, a hurricane is a whole different story. Hurricanes involve extremely high-speed winds and large violent waves that throw debris into the air and whirl it around before releasing them to crash elsewhere.
Several factors could severely damage your houseboat during a hurricane. For one thing, strong enough winds coupled with large enough waves can easily capsize even the largest of houseboats. This will most likely be a factor if your houseboat is caught within the path of the hurricane.
During a hurricane, large violent waves will crash against your houseboat, and if they don't cause it to capsize, they will definitely cause some flooding, which could damage the inside of your houseboat.
Lastly, debris that gets tossed around in the air during a hurricane could potentially crash into your houseboat, causing damage to the exterior hull or deck. If this happens, water from large waves could easily flood your houseboat and even cause it to sink or capsize.
Therefore, although it depends on the intensity of the specific hurricane in question, if your houseboat is caught in the path of the hurricane or is parked in an area that will experience heavy storm surges during a hurricane, your houseboat will most likely not be able to survive.
Is it Safe to Stay in a Houseboat During a Hurricane?
Given that a houseboat can become subject to damage or even capsizing during a hurricane, it is absolutely not safe to stay inside your houseboat during a hurricane. If you have caught wind of news of a hurricane approaching the part of the coast where your houseboat is located, your first call to action should be to relocate it elsewhere.
However, if you are unable to relocate your houseboat to a safer area, the last thing you should do is to remain within your houseboat during the hurricane. As mentioned, during a hurricane, strong winds and waves will crash against your houseboat, causing flooding and potential capsizing.
Moreover, debris tossed up into the air by the hurricane could potentially come crashing into your houseboat. It goes without saying that you do not want to be on board in any of these events.
Another factor that makes staying in a houseboat during a hurricane extremely dangerous is lightning. Although many houseboats are designed to absorb a lightning shock in such a way that leaves the inhabitants unharmed, it is still extremely dangerous to be on a boat that gets struck by lightning.
While the chances of being struck by lightning during a hurricane are very low, this could be very dangerous if the lightning strikes your boat. In the event that the lightning strike causes an electric component of your houseboat to explode while you are still aboard, this could be potentially fatal for you.
How to Protect a Houseboat from a Hurricane
According to our research from secondary sources, there are three different things you can do to protect your houseboat during a hurricane and ensure it survives the worst of the storm. The first and obvious step you can take is to get the boat inland and out of the path of the hurricane well before the storm is to arrive.
By removing your houseboat from the water entirely, you will be able to protect it from the worst of the wind, waves, and debris. However, depending on the size of your houseboat, this task could range anywhere from easy to impossible.
If the size of your houseboat is such that it permits easy relocation onto land, you will have to plan ahead to take your boat inland. If you can afford to take this step, it will be your best course of action.
If you are unable to relocate your houseboat inland, there are still some steps you can take to protect your houseboat from the worst of the hurricane. One of these steps is to board up all the glass windows of your houseboat using plywood. This will protect your houseboat from becoming flooded and will also protect the windows from damage by flying debris.
Boarding up your houseboat windows before a hurricane also takes some pre-planning, as many houseboat owners will be buying plywood during this time to do the same thing. Therefore, if you don't plan ahead, there could be a shortage of plywood by the time you get to the store. Therefore, if you are a houseboat owner in an area that frequently experiences hurricanes, make sure you have a stock of plywood at your disposal beforehand.
If you are unable to get your houseboat off the water, you should remove all the expensive electrical components or devices from inside your houseboat. Since you can't ensure that your houseboat will remain undamaged if it is on the water during a hurricane, you can at least ensure that your expensive electrical equipment will be saved.
The third and last thing you can do to protect your houseboat during a hurricane if you can't get it off the water is to move it out of the way of the predicted path of the hurricane. However, this comes with its own issue, particularly the problem that weather systems can only predict the path of a hurricane to a certain extent. It is highly possible for a hurricane to change course after you have already relocated your boat to another part of the water.
Like most houseboat owners, if you keep your houseboat on a river rather than on the ocean, it should be much easier for you to take a day in advance to move your houseboat inland. Although the path of the hurricane can be subject to change after the fact, if you manage to move your houseboat 50 to 100 miles inland, you should be able to protect it from most of the damage it might have experienced in the water.
About THE AUTHOR
I have a deep love of houseboating and the life-changing experiences houseboating has brought into my life. I’ve been going to Lake Powell on our family’s houseboat for over 30 years and have made many great memories, first as a child and now as a parent. My family has a passion for helping others have similar fun, safe experiences on their houseboat.Read More About Brian Samson