Boating in Rough Conditions

Rough Ocean Water Header

Boating in Rough Conditions

Even after following all the right precautions, you could find yourself boating in rough conditions. Mother Nature is unpredictable so it’s important to be prepared for the worst case scenario, especially at sea. This can be a scary situation for those who are new to boating, but fear not. Here at Eric’s Outboard Marine, we’ve got all the information you need to be prepared for bad weather on the water. We’ve gathered some helpful tips for you to remember in the event that the weather takes a turn while you’re boating. Give us a call or visit our dealership in Miami, Florida today for more information.

Rough Sea Water with Lighthouse in the Background

Check the Forecast

This might seem like common sense, but you should regularly check the forecast when you’re planning to take your boat out. If you check your forecast the night before you go boating, you should check it again in the morning. Weather can drastically change without notice so you need to do your best to be on top of this. You don’t have to solely rely on apps for this. As a matter of fact, your surroundings can provide indicators of inclement weather on the horizon, so pay attention to cloud formations and wind conditions. It’s a good idea to invest in a transmitter radio that’ll provide updates on the weather.

Boat Sailing Rough Seas

Slow Down & Use Your Lights

Once you’re in the thick of rough conditions on your boat, you’ll likely feel an urgency to get back to the dock. Remain calm and remember that slow and steady wins the race. The more you reduce your speed in bad weather, the more reaction time you’ll have. As you lower your speed, you’ll also be reducing strain on the hull. You can lessen the impact of swells by positioning your boat at a 45-degree angle. While this might not keep you on the perfect path to your destination, it will definitely keep you safe. When boating with passengers, ask them to keep watch for any other vessels in the area or debris floating in the water.

Another important tip to follow is that you should use your navigational lights to increase your visibility. In most cases, rough waters come with heavy downpours, intense fog, and forceful winds. All of these factors decrease visibility when you’re out on the water. It’s important to do everything you can to increase your visibility. Navigation lights are mostly used at night, but they are also suitable for use in foggy conditions. This allows other boaters to see your vessel’s bow and stern so they can avoid getting too close.

Boaters experiencing rough water in Rain Gear

Use Proper Safety Gear

While it’s recommended to wear safety gear whenever you’re on a vessel, it’s even more crucial during bad weather. Everyone should be wearing a life jacket or personal flotation device (PFD) that has been approved by the United States Coast Guard. It might seem extreme, but all it takes is one wave hitting your boat at the wrong angle for someone to go overboard. Passengers can sit in the lowest part of the boat, which is usually in the center, to avoid the risk of someone falling overboard. We also suggest you invest in appropriate foul-weather gear. As you navigate through rough waters, it’s likely you’ll get soaking wet and this can cause hypothermia. Ponchos and hooded raincoats are wise investments. A change of clothes never hurts, either.

Rough Ocean Water

Ride It Out

There are times when your only option is to ride out the storm. Believe it or not, this can sometimes be the safer choice. If you feel your boat thrashing around and all your efforts have been exhausted, you should consider roughing it out The only thing you’ll need to do here is aim the bow toward the swells and wind the best you can. This will help prevent the swells from slamming directly into the hull at full force. The bow will work to cut through the waves and reduce the impact you experience.

You should now feel prepared to handle boating in rough conditions should the situation arise. If you’re interested in learning more or you’d like to browse our inventory, stop by Eric’s Outboard Marine in Miami, Florida today.


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