Needless to say, the weather along the Atlantic and Gulf coastlines of Florida can be very temperamental at times, hence the need for sufficient yacht insurance coverage.  However, as a boater or yachter, there are a number of other precautions that you can take in order to stay while you are out on the water.  Any yachting veteran that has spent countless hours enjoying the water off the Florida coastline will tell you that the weather can be unpredictable and storms can move in quickly.

6 Steps to Safer Yachting

Stormy weather becomes more prevalent in Florida waters during the summer hurricane season.  The following 6 safety tips could ensure that you remain unharmed when you are spending time on the water:

Even if it looks nice, be cautious – vigilance enables boaters to avoid disasters and stay safe while on the water.  Listen to the weather forecasts broadcast on the radio and watch the sky for signs of changing winds and storms.  If you start hearing a lot of static on an AM channel, it could mean a thunderstorm is approaching.

Have a hurricane plan in place – although you should be hopeful of having a good time whenever you are yachting off the Florida coastline, you should be prepared for the worst case scenario.

Head for shore at the first sign of any trouble – if there is an electrical storm or strong winds, take safety precautions and head for shore immediately.  Otherwise, make sure that everyone onboard is wearing their life jackets or has a personal flotation device.  Prepare yourself for possible rough waters and make sure your emergency plan is in place.

Keep an eye on your local weather reports – in so doing, you’ll know if challenging weather conditions such as extremely high winds and/or thunderstorms are pending.  Start listening to your local AM and FM stations or NOAA’s National Weather Service broadcasts a few days before heading out on the water.

Pay attention to advisories and warnings – not only are marine weather warnings important, you should understand what they mean:

  • Small craft advisories – hazardous conditions that could be threatening to smaller crafts, includes high waves and winds ranging from 18 to 33 knots
  • Special marine warnings – squalls or thunderstorms with winds of up to 34 knots and lasting a couple of hours in duration
  • Gale warnings – winds ranging between 34 and 47 knots
  • Storm warnings – winds exceeding 47 knots
  • Tropical storm warnings – winds ranging between 34 and 63 knots, indicative of a tropical storm
  • Hurricane warnings – hurricane-force winds exceeding 63 knots

Watch the sky – unfortunately, local channels and the National Weather Service can’t predict sudden changes in the weather.  If you notice dark storm clouds accumulating, lightning flashes, or winds picking up, you could be in for stormy weather.