Weather Safety Tips for All Sailors
You’re Guide to Keeping Safe While Sailing
Keeping your boat and everyone on it safe from unforeseen weather conditions requires a skillset and information that’s always best acquired before the storm. As experienced boaters, we know firsthand that many problematic issues that occur on a sailing trip can be prevented with the proper safety measure, and Boatsetter is here to provide the information you’ll need, from the optimal condition of your boat’s equipment to the tips that can aid you in the moment of need.
Good Preparation is Half the Work
You might’ve wondered how to prep your boat for a hurricane. Make sure your boat is in a good state by getting a safety check every once in a while. Pay special heed to your ventilation, navigation lights, and fuel tanks. Next, you should take care that you have all the safety equipment on board. For example, a pre-departure checklist is a perfect thing to have. Life jackets, for example, are a must for all passengers. You should have sound-producing devices for the boat, such as an air horn, flares, similar distress signalers, and at least one fire extinguisher. While you’re sailing, make sure you have at least one anchor set up and bent-on to your anchor line. Other than that, you should prepare a few extra dock lines for unusual situations and carry at least two fenders for docking or in case of towing. And last but not least, before sailing out, but after you make sure you have all of the physical items in place, you should check the weather forecast.
Where to Get the Best Weather Forecast
For those boating in the United States of America, the National Weather Service is always a good choice, providing accurate forecast and warnings for all regions of the U.S. PassageWeather is a simple and functional site that collects its data from services all over the world and provides its users with easily accessible maps of everything you might need, from surface winds to wave height. For those who like to use websites that are as polished as their boats, Buoyweather provides an excellent alternative. Sites such as these are also great for more specific weather safety tips for boaters, so be sure to make good use of them.
Caught in a Storm? Don’t Panic
If you see a storm approaching and cannot get out in time, the most important rule to remember is not to panic. Ensure all of your passengers put on their life jackets and are all in the cabin if you have one, and stay low near the center of the boat if there isn’t one. Slow down, but don’t stop completely. Turn on the navigation lights and if there’s fog, sound your horn. Close all windows, hatches, and doors to make sure the boat doesn’t fill with water. If it does start happening, prepare to remove water by bailing. If the storm that’s approaching is actually a thunderstorm, stay away from all metal objects and turn off all electrical devices. To determine how many miles away it is, you can count the number of seconds between the flash of lightning and the clap of thunder and divide the number by five. In the case of a hurricane, this guide is a good thing to have bookmarked!