Boat enthusiasts know that the arrival of autumn in cooler climates does not mean it has to be time to give up boating. Even in northern regions you can extend your boating season into fall and enjoy this spectacular time to be on the water. That being said the shorter days and cooler weather in northern climates can create challenges. As yacht insurance specialists we are familiar with some of the challenges of cool weather boating and would like to offer some tips.
Night comes earlier, so be prepared: Autumn means the hours of daylight are shorter, so boaters may not be able to rely on visual aids to navigate during the same times that they could before. To be safe, take a few minutes to ensure your electronic and paper charts are up to date.
Time to test, restock and check: It’s a good time to do a quick test of all your onboard navigation and communications equipment as well in case batteries need replacing or anything has been damaged over a busy summer on the water. Now that it is dark early and it’s getting colder you need to know that your lights are all functioning, your flashlights work and your emergency flares are still good. It is a great time to review your yacht insurance for the year ahead.
Be observant: In some northern areas the local water authorities might pull channel markers and buoys once the summer season has ended. If you have relied on these when you’re on the water, be watchful and take notice if anything has been removed. Similarly, storms can approach quickly and we never know when fall blusters will suddenly turn to winter gales. Keep on top of weather forecasts.
Off season also means less help available: While you may love having the waterway or lake to yourself, the more peaceful boating of fall also means that if something goes wrong while you’re out on your boat help isn’t necessarily going to come by quickly. Does your VHF radio work? Test it before you need it desperately.
Fill her up: Keep the tank full because there may not be as many places open in the fall for refueling. You need to ensure you have enough fuel for a round trip.
Safety for cold water: You need to wear a lifejacket of course, but in autumn the cooler temperatures mean that falling overboard also heightens the risk of hypothermia. There are special flotation devices designed for cold-water immersion that will give thermal protection. Additionally, drawing your legs to your chest and wrapping your arms around them will help to conserve your body heat at the core. It is worth taking boat safety courses that cover cold-water survival – and typically taking courses will save you money on your yacht insurance premiums.
Ready to safely stretch the boating season into autumn? Consult the recreational boat and yacht insurance professionals at Global Marine Insurance for all your boat insurance needs.