18 Oct Stay Safe with these Helpful Fall Boating Tips
With the weather agreeing with many boaters, many are extending out the boating season before they winterize their boats. Boating during the fall often means beautiful scenery, colder weather, fewer sun rays and better fishing opportunities. For many, this spells paradise, especially since the waterways are less crowded during this time of year. However, while the weather has been holding up, the temperature of the water is dropping, and if you are unprepared, this can make for a dangerous situation.
It doesn’t matter if you are a seasoned vet or relatively new to the water, check out these helpful fall boating tips to help ensure you remain safe and sound out there.
Dress for the weather: It can get cold out there. Combined with high winds and colder water temperatures, it can become dangerous with the quickness. Your best bet is to dress in layers so that you can adjust along with the temperatures. If you own a wetsuit even better, wear it. You never know when disaster will strike.
Fuel up: Make it a habit to fuel up before you head out. During the fall season, there are fewer boaters out on the water so some fuel stations may close early or have different operating hours. Even if you know the schedule of your favorite station, don’t ever assume it will be open for the return trip home. Take the extra precaution and fill up on your way out.
Update your charts: Buoys and channel markers may be pulled by the local authorities during the month of October in some areas, so make sure your paper and electronic charts are up to date. You may not have the visual aids to help you navigate, and if you wind up out cruising at night, local landmarks may be harder to spot. Be prepared and make sure all of your charts are current and up to date.
Check your equipment: Even if you did a check of your boating equipment at the beginning of the season, if you are planning to be out in the colder temperatures give your equipment a once-over before you head out. Ensure that your VHF radio, beacon, navigation lights, and all of your boating gear are in good working order. Also, double check your emergency flares to make sure they are not past their expiration date. Also, double check all boat systems, such as your fluids, bilge, engine belts, and batteries.