Checking the weather forecast before heading out on your boat is essential to the safety of your crew and yourself.
Are warnings current for your boating area? Marine warnings announce potential dangers that can affect your boating activities.
Are there weather conditions affecting safe navigation and comfort? Check for lightning, thunderstorms and squalls and beware of reduced visibility due to rain or fog. Know the UV levels, so you can Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide.
What are the wind trends? The wind is responsible for creating waves and swell. A good indicator of sea conditions is wind speed and wind direction.If strong winds are forecast, you should expect large and forceful waves as well.
What are the wave conditions? Generally, there are two types of waves: Swell Waves and Sea Waves. Swell waves are long and flat but are powerful and unsafe near breakwaters. In contrast, sea waves are shorter and sharper but are less powerful.
When is the next high and low tide? This information is crucial for boats crossing bars and river entrances. The combination of a low tide or outgoing tidal flow can cause waves to become steeper than usual, making navigation difficult. Changing tides during the day can cover rocks and reefs at high tide and then expose them at low tide.