Saturday, February 21, 2009

Weather for the Small Boat

You should never leave the dock without first checking the local weather forecast. You can get the weather information from the TV, radio, local newspaper, on-line, or from one of the weather channels on your VHF radio. At certain times of the year weather can change rapidly and you should continually keep a "weather eye" out. While you are out in a boat here are a few signs you can look for that indicate an approaching weather change:

1. Weather changes generally come from the west. Scan the sky with your weather eye, especially to the west.

2. Watch for clouds to build up, especially rapid vertically rising clouds.

3. Sudden drop in temperature.

4. Sudden change in wind direction and or speed.

5. If you have a barometer on your boat, check it every 2 to 3 hours. A rising barometer indicates fair weather and rise in wind velocity, a falling barometer indicates stormy or rainy weather.

What To Do in Severe Weather
1. Reduce speed, but keep just enough power to maintain headway.

2. Put on your PFDs.

3. Turn on running lights.

4. Head for nearest shore that is safe to approach, if possible.

5. Head bow of boat into the waves at about a 45 degree angle.

6. Keep bilges free of water.

7. Seat passengers on bottom of boat near centerline.

8. If your engine fails, trail a sea anchor on a line from the bow to keep the boat headed into the waves. A bucket will work as a sea anchor in an emergency.

9. Anchor the boat if necessary.