Acquiring adequate Florida yacht insurance is always wise given the temperamental weather off the coast, but there are several other precautions every yachter and boater can take to stay safe. As anyone who has enjoyed the Atlantic along Florida’s stunning coastline can tell you, storms can hit quickly – especially during the summer hurricane season. Here are some safe boating tips from our Florida yacht insurance specialists:
- Watch the weather reports so you know if there is any expected risk of high winds, thunderstorms, or other challenging weather conditions. Listen to the forecast by the National Weather Service on NOAA Weather Radio or your local AM or FM stations. It’s always wise to start listening a few days before you head out adventuring.
- Hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst. Every yacht owner in Florida should have a hurricane plan.
- Keep an eye on the sky as sometimes the weather forecasts don’t predict sudden weather changes. If you see dark storm clouds gathering, flashes of lightning, or notice the wind picking up, take precautions because a downpour or big storm could be on the way.
- Listen to advisories and warnings. These official marine weather warnings are important, but do you know what they mean?
- A small craft advisory will warn of winds 18 to 33 knots or other hazardous conditions (waves or winds) that could be dangerous for small craft.
- A special marine warning is typically a squall or thunderstorm with winds of about 34 knots that is expected to last a couple of hours.
- A gale warning forecasts or reports winds in the range of 34 to 47 knots.
- A storm warning forecasts or reports winds of more than 48 knots.
- A tropical storm warning forecasts or reports winds ranging from 34 to 63 knots that are believed to be part of a tropical storm.
- A hurricane warning forecasts or reports hurricane-force winds of 64 knots or greater.
- Be watchful when you’re on the water. Even if it’s nice, our Florida yacht insurance specialists have heard of times when people have avoided disaster because they were vigilant. Keep listening to the weather broadcasts, scan the sky for any sign of a storm or changing winds; and if you suddenly hear a lot of static on an AM radio, you might be in for a thunderstorm.
- Take safety precautions at the first sign of trouble. Head for shore if possible so you can get out of your boat and to safety if there are strong winds or an electrical storm. If you have to stay on the water, then make sure everyone puts on a life jacket or personal flotation device, get ready in case the water gets rough, and be wary of any metal objects that aren’t grounded. Ensure that children, pets, and guests stay below deck and know the protocol you have in place for your emergency plan.
We’re as passionate about boating safety as we are about comprehensive Florida yacht insurance at competitive rates. Contact the marine insurance professionals at Global Marine Insurance to protect your marine investment.