Flood safety tips
Flooding caused by heavy rains can damage your boat. Follow these flood safety tips to keep it and yourself safe.
- Shut off all electricity before moving onto a dock where flooding has occurred.
- When wading onto fixed docks, move slowly and slide your feet in case dock boards came loose and floated away or were pulled up by mooring lines.
- Watch out for snakes, spiders and animals in floodwater.
- Stay clear of floating debris, such as trees and dock boxes.
- Turn off shore power breakers at your dock and disconnect shore power cords from your vessel. If vessels were tied to dock cleats properly, reach down into the water, feel the lines and loosen them. (Be careful; they are under tremendous stress.)
- If the lines weren’t tied properly, cut and retie them.
- When retying your lines, leave enough slack, so the line doesn’t immediately tighten up with the rising water.
- Periodically check the lines as the water level goes up or down; loosen or tighten as necessary.
- Be vigilant about checking water levels. If your floating dock posts are 33 feet, and the water rises 35 feet, the whole dock and all the moored vessels can float away.
- Do not move your vessel into the river. The current will be very fast, and the river will contain floating and submerged dangers.
- When water levels return to normal, clean and disinfect your lines, your dock, and the contents of your dock box (if it was submerged), as floodwater often contains chemicals and bacteria. Make dock repairs as needed.
- Wait at least a couple of weeks before venturing on the river after a major flood.
Boating on Rivers, Locks and Lakes
Learn how to safely boat in fickle rivers and on major inland waterways, and how to maneuver through locks.