Cold Weather Boating
No doubt there are advantages to boating in seasons other than summer: the autumn leaves can be a spectacular flash of color, fishing is usually outrageous in the spring, and after a freshly fallen snow winter has a pristine beauty all its own. An off-season excursion however has the unique dangers of cold weather boating. Here is a simple checklist for any boat captain to examine to be sure everyone is safe on all of his off-season adventures.
- Be sure to check the weather beforehand. Don’t wait until your ready to leave the dock before you decide to see what those dark clouds are!
- Leave a detailed float plan for someone you trust. In cold weather, it is especially critical for someone to know where you are in the event of an emergency.
- Avoid wearing cotton clothing. Cotton stays damp and wet from either water or perspiration and so is not the fabric of choice when you are out in cold weather. Try to wear water-resistant material that wicks moisture away from the body when it gets wet.
- Do all the proper maintenance on your boat before every excursion. Don’t get stranded out of negligence.
- Have a life jacket for everyone and a SeaMe monitor from BeaconWatch. If someone falls in the water the SeaMe monitor let’s you locate them quickly and pull them out before they drown or get hypothermia.
- Have your cell phone charged and in a plastic baggie.
- Avoid alcohol. Alcohol not only is one of the leading factors in boating accidents, but it also can bring on hypothermia a lot quicker.
If a captain takes a few extra cold weather precautions, boating in the off-seasons can a enjoyable and peaceful experience. With these steps, your boat doesn’t have to sit in storage for half of the time, but can be a part of your life all year long.