What is a Hurricane Hole?

Hurricane Holes, are they a safe?

Hurricanes are a natural part of the boating culture. As such, securing boats and finding a way in which to keep your vessels safe is essential. There are tie downs, marinas, docks, and such which help to a certain level. There is also the hurricane hole which may be an option. But what is the hurricane hole and are they really safe?

What is a hurricane hole?

Ideally, a hurricane hole is a natural refuge where a boat can be docked and can be away from the elements of a hurricane. Most of the hurricane holes are in bays and lagoon like areas with shallow water. The trees, mountains, and natural barriers break down the wind and minimize the risk of damage caused by hurricanes. As these places are surrounded, usually on three sides by such barriers, they are an ideal place for hiding out and riding out the storm. But does this make them safe?

The age of the hole

The age of the hole will greatly determine the potential risk for damage to the boat. Holes which are 200 or 300 years old may not actually be holes any longer. Progression, construction, and modernization may have diminished the ability to block the wind and the waves effectively. For example Culebra Harbor was listed as a Hurricane hole, yet when Hugo hit nearly 136 of the 200 boats in the hole were sunk or severely damaged.

Newer Hurricane Holes are more apt to offer the best resistance against hurricanes, tides, and the winds as they are more than likely tested against the modern hurricane. This is not to say that some of the older areas in the Bahamas, specifically the Marina at Atlantis, Nassau Harbor, and English Harbors have withstood the test of time.

Location to the water

Even the best location has one tremendous drawback, and that is the inlet. Regardless of the protection that is offered on the sides, if the water and the waves rise too much, even the most secure of hurricane holes can be effected. If you are seeking a hurricane hole, it is best to look at the projected path of the storm, and ensure that the inlet of the hurricane hole is not on the landing side of the hurricane. Of  course, if the entire storm is to pass over the hurricane hole, you run the risk of high winds and water regardless.

Since most of the hurricanes and tropical storms come from the Atlantic and move towards the gulf, it is advised to find a hurricane hole that has its inlet facing the gulf or the north to minimize risks from water and waves. Boaters should consider the deep of their boat when using hurricane holes. While the water level is apt to rise, you still have to worry about sandbars, rocks, and other debris which can be effected by a large deep or by too shallow of water.

It’s a gamble either way

There is a saying “you are lucky until you are not” which stands true for the hurricane hole. It works as a refuge until the day that it does not and causes devastation to boats moored there. While the hurricane hole reduces the risk of damage by blocking the wind and the rain, there is still a risk. It is a lower risk than what one would face if in open water, but it is still a risk. To maximize the safety of your vessel, tie down the vessel, reduce the windage components, seal electronic components, and make use of your secondary anchor. Follow the procedures for keeping the hull from banging into rocks and other vessels to best reduce your risk of damage. Your best option is to use an ashore solution if possible.

Finding the best locations

Finding the best location to dock your boat, or the best location to find a hurricane hole, depends upon the type of vessel that you have and the boating restrictions of that area. To find about your specific location and the boating and boat types which are typical for that spot, please read the location pages of Vessel Vendor. Vessel Vendor specializes in offering pre-owned vessels from boat enthusiasts. Additionally, our site offers helpful articles, tips, and services to keep your vessel safe, secure, and running to the best of its ability.

Looking to buy or sell a boat? No problem. Please look at the selection of boats which are available on the site and let us know if you have any questions. Many of the boats that are offered on our site have special packaging, warranties which can be transferred, or motors which are still under a transferable warranty. When listing your vessel, please include such information to help with your listing.

Any inquires about anything regarding hurricane holes, boats, or services of Vessel Vendor can be asked through our site.