No one can predict the weather in full detail. We as humans like to think we can but in all reality we just have general information. There is no way to know the outcome of a storm before it happens, but the best thing we can do is to try and be prepared for anything, even if you’re out on the water!
Stay as up to date on all storms and weather forecasts as possible. Storms can change drastically, especially here in Florida!
Be prepared with proper boat insurance. You want to be sure that you have good boat insurance with a provider that understands how to insure a boat and respond to any weather related incidents that happen on the water.
Boats on a Trailer- Get the boat as close as you can to a strong building — anything to break the wind. Avoid trees, power poles and also construction sites, anything that create flying debris. Place blocks beneath the trailer frame on either side of the wheels, and then deflate the tires completely. You can also twists auger-type tie-down anchors into the ground using a broom handle. Tie the boat to the trailer, and then tie the boat to those anchors.
Boats in the water- Anchor your boat with at least two anchors and position the boat’s bow in the direction of the prevailing winds. Ensure that anchor lines are 10 times the water depth at the mooring location to counteract the effects of a storm surge. Cover engine room vents and plug the stern’s exhaust pipes to prevent water from flooding your motor.
If you do find yourself in a bad situation with the weather while on the water, its best to play it safe with extra precautions like:
- Filing a “float plan” with friends or family so they know when to expect your arrival. Remember you can download that app to help make it easier to file a float plan. Be sure to also call your point of contact to inform them when you arrive safely.
- Use your marine GPS and Radar to navigate, see other boats and anticipate changing conditions.
- Use all running lights so other boaters can see you.
- Drop anchor in a safe cove or inlet (out of the channel) if visibility drops.
Stay alert, and stay safe everyone!