As a yacht insurance company, we like to know our clients are well-protected and well- prepared for any circumstances. With spring finally here, we’d like to offer some advice about seasonal storms for recreational boaters.
Spring weather can be unpredictable, so it is very important that you check weather conditions before you head out on the water. When cold and warm fronts collide, as often happens in the spring, it can lead to intense thunderstorms, heavy rain, wind, and even hail.
It is essential to consider:
- Are the weather conditions are safe for yachting or boating?
- When there are potential weather issues, is your skill or your crew’s up to the risk?
- How you will get reliable weather updates if you decide to leave shore.
- Preparing and filing a float plan detailing your itinerary and anticipated return time with someone you trust so if something goes wrong, people know you have run into difficulty and can start a search.
As a yacht insurance company, we are well aware of the mishaps and disasters that can occur on the water and want to encourage all boaters to pay attention to the local weather forecasts and water conditions. Knowledge is power, and a little foresight and planning helps people avoid disaster.
These days it is easy to get accurate weather and water condition information. You can check online, use a special weather App, listen to the radio, or watch the weather or news channels. There really isn’t any excuse because it has never been easier to stay informed about sudden changes in conditions.
Scan the horizon. When you are out on the water, stay watchful and go with your gut. As you look out across the waves, pay attention to any rapidly changing weather. Often storms blow in from the west, but they can originate from any direction. Increasing cloud cover, especially vertically, may indicate a thunderstorm.
Pay attention to temperature and barometric pressure. A sudden drop in either is a very reliable indication that a storm is impending.
Be wary of thunderstorms. At the earliest sign of darkening skies and gathering clouds, you may want to head to shore. Listen for thunder and be very watchful of lightning, both of which can be very serious for yachts, sailboats, or other pleasure craft if they’re not grounded. Thunderstorms vary in intensity but are notoriously difficult to predict and can greatly impact how rough the water is.
Take hurricane warnings seriously. Don’t take unnecessary risks even if you or your crew are seasoned mariners. Utilize the warning period as time to ensure your yacht or boat is properly secured and weather-tight.
Be fog smart. Fog has long been problematic for sailors and even with modern technology, it can create dangerous conditions very quickly along the shore, in bays, or out on the open water. During the spring, fog often appears during the early morning or evening hours. It is essentially low-lying clouds formed in areas of low pressure. Land and water breezes are determined by the uneven heating and they determine these low pressure areas. Thus, fog can be somewhat unpredictable.
Do you know what to do if you are further from shore than you’d like to be and encounter storm conditions? Here are some helpful tips from our boat and yacht insurance company:
- Before you do anything else, ensure that every person on board is wearing a life jacket or PFD.
- Secure everything – close hatches and ports.
- Ensure passengers are safe, especially children, pets, and vulnerable adults, either below deck or low in the boat near the center.
- Proceed slowly and cautiously to the nearest safe shore, watching for debris in the water and lightning. Be ready to sound fog warnings if necessary.
- If lightning starts and you are not safely sheltered, make sure everyone stays away from metal and keeps low in the middle of the vessel; and don’t forget to check that all electrical devices are off.
Before you take your vessel out on the water check to see if you have adequate yacht insurance coverage. Contact the marine insurance professionals at Global Marine Insurance today.