What Makes a Marina or Harbor a 'Hurricane Hole'?
One key characteristic of a hurricane hole is, of course, its location. The ideal location for a boat in a storm is a harbor that is sheltered from wind and waves on four sides, by land that rises well above sea level – not simply a man-made breakwater.
When it comes to a marina's docks, we’ve heard competing theories: on one hand, a marina with floating docks and sturdy pilings that extend well above high tide can rise to match the storm surge. On the other, fixed slips aren’t in danger of giving way as easily as floating piers. Investigate each marina on a case-by-case basis. Also assess how high the fixed pier is off the water level, and how new the docks are. Either way, the more spacious the slips, the better, so that vessels have room to swing without the risk of collision.
The marina & harbor history also plays a part. Marinas rarely remain exactly the same season after season – a large part of the reason forums are so crucial to cruisers, as captains continuously share intel in order to help their fellow mariners make the best decisions for their vessels. If one season a marina’s docks are badly battered by a storm, the following season your research should focus on what work the marina has done to rebuild. With regard to the surrounding town: although a marina may have a reputation for being a hurricane hole, if the town has undergone development that new construction could damage a harbor’s natural protective elements.
How to Find Out if a Marina is Open, Closed, or Damaged By a Hurricane
Our sister-site, Marinas.com rolled out Marina Status Alerts: a new tool for marinas and boaters to communicate more efficiently in any emergency situation, like a hurricane, flooding, or coronavirus outbreak, that may require a full or partial closure. Active Alert statuses will appear in the top banner across Marinas.com’s homepage, and when a marina has updated its Alert status – be it Open, Closed, or Partial Closure – that status will appear on the marina profile as well as in this centralized Alerts page.