We’ve reached hurricane season here in Florida, which means you should be prepared for higher winds and heavier rains. Even outside of hurricane season, though, the weather on the water in Florida can change very rapidly, bringing on unexpected high-pressure fronts and storms.
There’s always a possibility you’ll be stuck out at sea when a storm arrives. When this happens, it is important you know how to safely navigate the rough waters. Here are a few tips for you to keep in mind.
- Pay attention to the forecast: Make sure you check the weather forecast before you head out on the water so you know what to expect. Hopefully, this will make it easy for you to get back to shore long before the weather is expected to make a turn for the worse. You should also bring out a hand-crank transmitter radio so you can listen for weather updates while out on the water.
- Outfit yourself with safety equipment: Have your boat stashed with lifejackets and other personal floatation devices (PFDs), and invest in some rain gear, including hooded raincoats, ponchos and moisture-wicking clothing. Have an emergency kit with horns, signaling devices, bailer buckets, Dramamine and any other items that might be beneficial during high winds and heavy storms.
- Slow down: If a storm arrives, it’s going to be tempting to try to race it back to the shore, but really what you need to do is slow down, and turn on your navigational lights so other people out on the water can see you. Reduced speeds give you more time to notice potential hazards, and make it less likely you’ll lose control over the boat.
- Disconnect electronics: If there’s lightning, it is crucial you disconnect all electrical equipment, and avoid touching anything made of metal.
- Know how to navigate: Your boat will begin to rock as the sees get rough. Riding parallel with the waves is the safest way to travel. It might knock you off a direct path to your destination, but it’s the safest way to navigate. Avoid running ahead of the waves—this can result in broaching.
For more tips about safe navigation of boats during storms, contact an experienced boating accident lawyer in Sarasota at Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez & Walsh.