A boat operator is enjoying a day on the water when all of a sudden the weather changes. What can they do?
Get ready to learn how to handle rough water!
When boating in rough water, there are several things you can do to stay safe:
Slow down and be cautious: Be prepared to stop quickly rather than resorting to sudden evasive maneuvers. Adjust your boat’s speed to prevent the bow from getting buried in waves.
Head to a safe location: If you encounter increasingly high seas, it’s best to head to a sheltered bay, cove, or breakwater. If the waves and water make it unsafe to continue, anchor your boat right away and use a marine distress signal to call for help.
Assign lookouts: If you have passengers on board, make sure they are wearing PFDs and position them at the bow and stern to act as lookouts while you maneuver to safety. Remember that in high wave conditions, other boats may not be easily visible.
Use navigational tools: Both you and your passengers should actively watch and listen for other boats and navigational aids using your eyes and ears. In addition, always use your own navigation lights and other navigation tools such as radar to broadcast your position to other boats in rough waters or reduced visibility.
If you’re on the water and a storm is approaching, take these steps to keep you, your boat and your passengers safe:
If the storm has already hit, follow these additional tips for everyone’s safety:
You can’t always accurately predict the weather, and conditions can change rapidly when out on the water. Always fill out a float plan before setting out, and be prepared for any eventuality by carrying visual distress signals and appropriate safety equipment like fire extinguishers on board at all times.
Stay vigilant by closely following weather forecasts and anticipating shifts in weather conditions.
Before venturing into new or unfamiliar waters, familiarize yourself with local hazards by acquiring local marine charts and asking local boaters and marinas for tips. In rough water, you are more likely to be vulnerable to other dangers, so you should get informed and be prepared to avoid them.
Did you know that you need a boating card to legally operate a vessel on over 70% of US waters? When you prepare for your online test by taking a boater safety course, you are not only ready to go boating anywhere in the States, you are also giving yourself a chance to learn about important safety procedures like how to navigate rough seas.
Our course includes interactive quizzes and instructional videos, all available online. Trust Drive a Boat USA to teach you what you need to know about boating across the States, including New York, California and Florida!