Be Prepared for Foul Weather on Your Boat

boat gear
boating bad weatherWeather basics to help boaters predict bad weather, understand changing conditions on the water and have the right gear on board

If you are an avid boater then you are more than likely going to experience foul weather on your boat – from extreme weather like tropical storms and hurricanes, to severe storms and rough rainy days.

Being aware of weather forecasts and changing conditions on the water can make the difference between a great day and a lousy day on the water.

Weather Basics Course

The United States Power Squadrons (USPS) and the BoatUS Foundation have joined forces to create a new online course Weather for Boaters that teaches boaters how to recognize early signs of changing weather and how to anticipate storms, squalls, fog, and wind shifts.

The course is an easy-to-follow boater’s guide to forecasting, winds and storms that will help any boat owner decide when it’s time to go out, head back in, or seek cover.

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According to The United States Power Squadrons, you can check the forecast before you leave, but it might be hours old and doesn’t necessarily reflect the conditions in your area. With this course you can familiarize yourself with basic weather elements to understand how they will affect your boating experience and much more.

The course will give you the confidence to:

  • Be prepared when the actual weather does not agree with the official forecast
  • Recognize early signs of approaching weather
  • Anticipate storms and lightning
  • Interpret approaching cloud formations
  • Use a weather map
  • Understand weather elements like air masses, fronts, and winds
  • Understand how to use a barometer and other forecasting tools

The course cost $40 but they are running a special price of $29.95 through September 30, 2014.

foul weather waterFoul Weather Boating Tips

If you do find yourself in a bad weather situation on the water its best to play it safe with extra precautions like:

  • File a “float plan” with friends or family so they know when to expect your arrival (and can call for help if necessary) – be sure to also call inform them when you arrive safely
  • Use all running lights so other boaters can see you
  • Use your marine GPS and Radar to navigate, see other boats and anticipate changing conditions
  • Stay anchored or docked at a marina until the storm passes (spend an extra night at your transient destination if needed)
  • Drop anchor in a safe cove or inlet (out of the channel) if visibility drops

Foul Weather Boating Gear

In addition to having life jackets for every crew member on board (and wearing them – especially in rough water!) it is always good to be equipped with some foul weather gear.

Rain gear or storm gear is always a good idea to have on board so that you are prepared for any foul weather situation on your boat.

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.

We have been using BoatUS Insurance for years and find that they not only have competitive rates, but we feel our boat is properly insured for boating situations. Every once in a while we shop around to double check and still come back to BoatUS.

Being prepared for any type of weather situation on your boat is just another way to ensure that your time on the water is safe and enjoyable!

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Diane Seltzer

View posts by Diane Seltzer
Diane is the founder of as well as the boating lifestyle site for kids Active in the boating industry, Diane has also led the marketing for multiple recreational boating businesses and startups.
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