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Sudden Weather Changes While Boating

March 29, 2023

Boating in bad weather can be a risk to the safety of your boat and everyone onboard. As a boat operator, it is important to know how to avoid being caught in bad weather, and it is your responsibility to know what to do if you are.

Sudden weather changes are not uncommon in Canada, and adapting to the change can be particularly challenging for boaters. In this blog, we’ll talk about navigating rapid weather changes while boating.

Always check the weather before heading out on the water

Before setting out on the water, it is crucial to inform yourself of the maritime weather forecast to prevent getting caught in poor conditions. This information is available from a variety of sources, including Environment Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard, and local weather forecasting networks.

Given how weather conditions can change quickly, it is important to regularly check the weather forecast.

Continue to monitor the weather while on the water

It’s important to keep an eye on the sky and stay alert for any warning indications of a storm, such as black clouds or lightning.

Make sure you can read a marine chart and are aware of all local boating conditions, including tides and currents. This will allow you to navigate to safety if needed.

Always keep all necessary boating safety equipment including magnetic compasses on board.

Signs of bad weather approaching

To protect the safety of your boat and crew, you must act quickly if you spot any indications of an impending storm. In Canada, storms typically approach from the west or southwest. Strong winds can arise without warning and are a common cause of boating deaths in Canada.

What to do when operating a boat in bad weather

To guarantee the safety of your boat and crew when operating in bad weather, it’s crucial to maintain composure and move promptly. The safety of the boat and its occupants is the operator’s responsibility.

If a storm is heading your way

Staying vigilant at all times will help you spot a sudden shift in the weather and spot a storm moving at you. You should first check the local weather forecast to see if there are any warnings or alerts in your area that may confirm a storm is approaching.

The operator should also ensure everyone on board is wearing a life jacket. If you have a VHF marine radio use it to listen to weather updates and to call for assistance if needed.

If you are caught in a storm

Here are some measures you should take if the weather suddenly changes while you are enjoying a day on the water and you get caught in a storm.

  • Head back to shore as soon as possible. If you are unable to make it to shore, reduce your speed and head towards the nearest sheltered area. If that is not an option, anchor your boat and ride out the storm.
  • Make sure everyone onboard is wearing a life jacket.
  • If you have a VHF marine radio and if there is enough time, get help from another boater.

Learn to prepare for the unexpected with Drive a Boat Canada!

Boating in sudden weather changes can be dangerous, but with the right preparation and knowledge, you can ensure the safety of your boat and crew. Remember to obtain marine weather forecast information before heading out on the water, keep an eye on the weather conditions, and be prepared with all the necessary safety gear.

Stay calm, act quickly, and always prioritize safety. To be fully prepared, get your Canadian boating license with Drive a Boat Canada. For more information contact us.