Keep Your Boat Safe for Next Year, Now

Get your boat into a shipyard before the rush.

Before Hurricane Irma hit Florida, Lauderdale Marine Center was at 125 percent capacity, squeezing in yachts wherever it could. Boaters who called too late were turned away. To reserve space for 2018’s hurricane season, the time to call is January or February.Courtesy Lauderdale Marine Center

Lauderdale Marine Center has a lift nicknamed “The Beast” that can raise 485-ton yachts up to 180 feet length overall. That, plus the center’s “hurricane-safe” location a few miles inland from ocean storm surge, means a lot of boaters want to haul out there as soon as a storm’s path is marked for southeast Florida. “In the case of Irma, we were sold out a week before she hit,” says the center’s spokeswoman, Staci Love. In fact, the 60-plus-acre Lauderdale Marine Center ended up at 125 percent capacity ahead of Irma, with frantic boaters being turned away because there was no more space to jam another hull into the mix. For the 2018 season, the center is urging yacht owners to book hurricane space in advance. Sales start in January, giving yacht owners peace of mind that they’ll have a place to put their boat when the next big one hits. Love says the plans usually sell out by mid-March. After that, hurricane space becomes first-come, first-served. Take the next step: