Sure, the weather is cold outside. In fact, for the most part in America, the weather is downright frigid. However, that doesn’t have to stop you from taking your vessel out with family and friends. The truth is that a winter boat ride can be just what you need to break out of a seasonal affective funk. Yes, it’s not the same as going out in the summer. But, when you take the proper safety precautions, it can make for a great time with family and friends. These are some tips for staying safe this winter on the water from our US Coast Guard National Vessel Documentation Center.
Dress for the Weather, but Make Sure You Can Handle the Water, Too
The idea of “dress for the weather, not the water” means that you want to be ready to handle the cold wind, sleet, or even snow that you may face while on your boat. However, if you dress in too heavy of clothing, you could find yourself in real trouble if you do happen to fall into the water. That’s why, whenever possible, we advocate wearing layers. That way, you can be prepared for just about anything. For example, should the weather become unseasonably warm, you can take off some of those layers, too.
Always Have a Way to Contact Land
Taking your phone with you onto the boat is a great idea. However, you may not always get reception while on the water. That’s why we always recommend having a radio that allows you to contact people off of your boat, too. On top of that: “checking your flares” should be a part of your initial boat check before you go out on the water. Also, having a dry, safe way to carry and hold each of those is important, too.
What a Winter Float Plan Should Contain
You know to make a float plan, but, for most of us, a “float plan” is just telling your spouse or partner: “Hey, I’m going out on the boat for a while.” During the winter, it helps to be a lot more specific. Tell them when you’re leaving, when you expect to be back, where you’re going on the water, and even give a description of your vessel, too. While the last may seem a bit much (particularly if you’re giving your float plan to someone you live with) it could help them to describe it to the authorities should something happen.
A US Coast Guard National Vessel Documentation Center Always At Your Service
Perhaps the worst part of a winter boat ride is the part when it ends, you get off the boat and realize, well, it’s still winter. There are still months to go before spring, much less summer. To that end, so many of our customers use this time to take care of all of their documentation needs at our site. That way, you’ll be fully prepared when winter ends, so that you can get right out on the water and use your vessel how you want. To talk to a member of our staff with any questions you might have: (800) 535-8570 or fill out our contact form.