It's no secret, when you live in Jacksonville, Florida, you will likely deal with different types of weather. While you should never be out boating in high winds or during small craft advisories, you may encounter some inclement weather while you're boating.
Staying safe during a storm or any other type of inclement weather is important. Make sure you're prepared as summer storms can pop up out of nowhere in Florida. Here are a few essential safety tips for boating in inclement weather.
Be Prepared Before You Go Out on the Water
Having all the necessary equipment with you is the first step to safety when boating during a storm. The Jax Boat Club will ensure you have all the necessary gear before you go out. Even if it seems like the perfect day for boating, weather in Florida can be very unpredictable. Make sure you're prepared before you head out on the water.
Put on Harnesses and Life Jackets
As soon as you sense a storm is coming, make sure you have life jackets on. If the boat is equipped with harnesses, make sure you put these on, as well. This is the first thing you should do to help ensure nobody falls overboard.
You may think you're a skilled swimmer so you don't need a life jacket, but you still do. During a storm, it's hard to understand what is going on in the water. It can be very difficult to stay on the boat and if you do go overboard, you may not have much of a chance.
Stow Unnecessary Items
After you've put on a life jacket and harness, you want to stow any unnecessary items on the boat. These can become projectiles as the boat is tossed around. Falling objects can cause injury, as well. Make sure anything that can be stowed has been stowed before the storm hits.
Slow Down the Boat
If you know you're not going to make it in before the storm hits, slow down your boat. You want to keep enough power to maintain headway, but you want to slow down your pace as much as possible. You should be slow enough for the water to outrun the boat. This will create a more comfortable ride and lower your risk of broaching or losing control.
If you're stuck in a storm with lightning, make sure you avoid metal. A lightning strike could cause electrocution if you're touching metal, even if it doesn't strike your boat. It's best to gather everybody into the safest area of the boat until the storm passes.
Close Latches and Windows
If your boat has latches and windows that are open, close them before the storm hits. This can be forgotten due to panic, but it will help you keep the cabins from flooding and increasing the risk of your boat sinking.
Boating safety during inclement weather is vital. You want to make sure you’re prepared and you know what to do if a storm hits. It's never a good idea to be out on the water during high winds or small craft advisories. Storms can come out of nowhere and it's best to be prepared.