Many Florida boaters risk their safety by going out on the water when hurricane conditionsthreaten our coasts. Boaters can avoid the risk of injury when they take the proper precautions and heed weather warnings when a tropical system nears our shores.
Hurricane season does not mean you have to tie up your boat for the next five months. It just means you need to be on top of the latest weather conditions and know when it’s just not safe to take to the seas. A few points to remember when going boating during hurricane season:
- Always check the weather forecasts not only for the time before and during your trip, but also for the weather predicted after your outing. If there are storms predicted to arise after your trip is over, you may still want to cancel your trip. There’s no guarantee they won’t pick up speed and hit earlier!
- Have a good source for monitoring the weather onboard your boat and heed all Coast Guard warnings.
- Don’t forget that the impact of storm surge can reach hundreds of miles out from the storm, so even if it’s not close to your boating area, you still may be at risk for rough seas.
- Hurricane season doesn’t just mean large tropical storms – common daily thunderstorms can be just as dangerous to boaters who are not prepared for bad weather conditions.
- Keep emergency supplies well stocked and on hand at all times, and know your emergency plan for what to do if someone falls overboard or you lose control of your vessel.
By preparing for the worst and hoping for the best, you can help reduce the risk of serious injury in the event you are caught by bad weather. The main thing to remember is to watch the weather forecasts and use your best judgment before deciding to take your boat out. Don’t ignore the warnings from trusted sources such as the Coast Guard or National Weather Service – they know the risks!