The Deckee crew share some advice to help you stay safe when the weather turns unexpectedly.
As boaters we should always do our best to avoid being out on the water in rough weather. However, this is not always possible. Weather is unpredictable at sea, so every boater should be prepared to handle heavy weather and know what to do in case of an emergency. Here are some tips for boating in rough weather, so you can keep yourself, your crew, and your boat safe.
- Tidy up the boat As soon as the wind starts building, have a look around your boat. Scan the deck and cockpit first. Tie down or put away every object that could be thrown around.
- Stay calm Try to keep calm, so you can handle the situation efficiently. Emergencies require a clear mind, so you can use your problemsolving skills at their best. If you panic, refocus and take some deep breaths until you feel back in control.
- Keep a sharp lookout When the seas are higher, your visibility decreases. It’s harder to spot other vessels, buoys, or swimmers in the water. You’ll need to be extra vigilant in rough weather. Keep a sharp lookout by never taking your eyes off where you’re going and scanning the horizon at regular intervals.
- Have a grab bag ready If you haven’t prepared one already, get a floating grab bag and fill it with emergency items, such as a portable GPS, water, a phone, credit cards, and more. If you need to abandon your boat, you need to be ready to leave in seconds. Get your life raft ready to go and make sure it’s tied to your vessel.
- Slow down While it might seem counterintuitive, slowing the boat down is the safest way to handle rough seas. It allows you to ride the waves, rather than slamming into them. You don’t want to go too slow, though – you need to be able to make progress. Go slow enough to keep your bow from plunging into the oncoming wave and fast enough to keep the crest from filling the cockpit.
- Take waves at an angle Taking waves head-on is a bad idea, as you will end up in the trough of each one. Approach waves at a 45-degree angle off the bow or stern, so you climb and fall off their sides. This will allow you to keep the prop in the water and maintain control. Taking waves beam-on is even worse – you risk rolling or capsizing, especially if you’re in a small boat.
- If you can, alter course Heading directly back to the dock is not always the best decision. If this means heading straight for the centre of the storm, don’t do it. Evaluate and figure out the safest way. You could seek shelter in a big bay that’s protected from the wind and wait the rough weather out. 8.Keep an eye on your progress Understand how your boat is behaving. Are you gaining mileage? Is there a current setting you off course? Figure these things out and adjust your strategy.
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