Nothing stops a fun day out on the water with friends and family like unexpected bad weather. Sometimes, inclement weather comes out of nowhere. Storms can brew in an instant and turn a beautiful day into an emergency situation. It is important for boaters to remain calm by preparing ahead of time for bad weather and observe the weather before heading out.
Observe the Weather
Knowing the forecast from the local weather channel is not enough when it comes to boating. These channels will not report wind direction and speed over the water and their effect on the waves or tide times. They also do not always state whether a storm is brewing in the distance over the water. The best way to observe the weather is through a marine weather forecast. Boaters can do a simple internet search or listen to NOAA weather radio. NOAA radio broadcasts marine weather often and continuously. Such forecasts update several times a day. The National Weather Service suggests boaters should check these forecasts often. This is even more important for boaters setting out on an extended trip.
Use the Instruments
Another way for boaters to better understand the weather conditions is by using their instruments. One key instrument to know is the barometer. A barometer is used to measure barometric pressure. This measurement is the air pressure in the atmosphere. This is an extremely reliable reader of the current and coming weather. Boaters can use this tool to predict incoming storms. If the pressure is dropping low very quickly, boaters can assume there is a storm coming. Boaters are advised to check the barometer frequently, especially if anticipating a storm.
The Wind Changes
Another important reminder for boaters is that weather is ever-changing. Marine forecasts will include reports on the day as well as prediction out to three days. Reports will often include wind speed, and wave height as well as storm warnings. Coastal marine forecasts are available for the specific area you are boating in and up to 25 miles out. Weather and wind changes even on a day with clear skies. The elements are dynamic and full of constant changes. Knowing the marine forecast allows boaters to make safe boating decisions. Staying ahead of the changing weather patterns is a great way to prepare for a day on the water.
Knowing the weather forecast gives boaters the tools to plan ahead. Marine forecasts will give boaters the current wind speed and wave height. These patterns will increase or decrease throughout the day. If the forecast states the wave height will increase drastically as the day goes on, boaters with smaller crafts will know to head out in the morning and return to port before the waves become too large to handle. In any conditions, predicting the weather is the best way to ensure a fun and safe day out on the water.