Boating in the Middle of a Storm? Follow These Safety Tips

January 16, 2020

If you’re going to be going out in a boat, it’s important that you do plenty of pre-planning to ensure you remain safe during your excursion. Keep track of the weather in the days and weeks leading up to the trip so you have an idea of whether or not there are any storms that could affect your plans. You should also make sure you bring along all of the proper safety equipment and gear you need to stay safe in an emergency situation—such as boating during a storm in Sarasota, FL—and plan out the route you’ll be taking in advance so you don’t have to improvise while you’re out in the boat.

So long as you prepare properly for your boating trip, you shouldn’t have much difficulty staying safe and avoiding storms. But there are situations in which severe weather that was not anticipated can occur, and if this happens to you, it’s important you know what you should do to keep yourself and everyone else with you safe.

Taking action

The biggest choice you’ll need to make is whether you will attempt to get back to shore, or if you’ll try to ride out the storm. This depends on the severity of the weather. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Heading to shore is the safest idea: Whenever possible, heading to the nearest shore or harbor that is safe to reach is going to be the best strategy to keep yourself safe. However, if the storm is already upon you, it might actually be safer to try to stay in the open water—approaching a shore or harbor when there are strong winds and rough waters can be a dangerous task in its own right.
  • Know how to deal with waves: With storms come some big waves, and if you’re the one operating the boat, you need to know how to handle those waves. The standard rule is to direct the bow into the waves at a 45-degree angle. If you’re in a smaller personal watercraft, you should head directly into the waves.
  • Keep your wits about you: There is going to be a lot more to keep track of in your surroundings when a storm approaches, but you still need to keep track of other boats, debris, stumps and shoals so you can avoid a collision. Other boaters can be especially unpredictable in severe weather, especially if they’re inexperienced in handling such conditions, so be sure to give them plenty of space.
  • If your engine stops: If your engine comes to a stop, you should drop a sea anchor off of your bow to ensure the bow keeps going straight into the wind. This will cut down on how much drifting you do during the storm. If you don’t have a sea anchor, you can use a bucket in an emergency situation. Otherwise, if you do not have a sea anchor, a conventional anchor can also work.

For more information about boating safety in a storm in Sarasota, FL, contact the team at Charter Boat Shark today.

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