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How to Manage and Prepare for Adverse Weather While on the Water

From rapidly changing winds and increasing waves to severe thunderstorms and fog, there are more than enough weather threats to mariners.

In a recent blog post, Accuweather.com reports thunderstorms are one of the more common dangers to boaters because they can develop quickly.

According to both the Coast Guard and National Weather Service, boaters should never venture out if thunderstorms are a possibility. If out in the water and you notice approaching storms, return to land or shelter as soon as possible.

If unable to return to land, it’s best to “stay inside the cabin and avoid touching metal or electrical devices.” If your boat doesn’t have a cabin, stay as low as possible in the boat, the NWS states.

Fog is another danger that can disorient a boater and disrupt their navigation and like thunderstorms it can form quickly. According to the NWS, fog is typically considered dense when it reduces visibility to below a mile.

When on a vessel, Accuweather.com reports the Coast Guard suggests to keep a close eye out for these signs that may indicate a change in weather:

  1. A sudden drop in temperature.
  2. Increasing wind or sudden change in wind direction.
  3. Flashes on the horizon.
  4. Flat clouds getting thicker and lower.
  5. Heavy static on your AM radio, which can be a sign of nearby thunderstorms.

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 What can you do when caught in a storm?

  1. Reduce your speed, but keep enough power to make headway.
  2. Head the boat at a 45-degree angle into the waves
  3. Make sure everyone on board is aware of all emergency equipment, such as man overboard gearand rafts
  4. Keep the bilges free of water.
  5. Turn on your running lights.
  6. Anchor the boat, if necessary.

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