Obviously, if you know a storm is coming soon, your best bet to stay safe is to avoid going out on to the water entirely. But sometimes you can get surprised by a sudden storm while you’re out on the water, in which case it’s important you know the steps you should take to protect yourself.
Here’s a quick overview of some important safety tips for boating in a storm from our fishing charter in Hawaii:
- Make sure everyone’s wearing life vests: In general, you only need to have life vests on the boat—you don’t necessarily need to have everyone wearing one at every moment during the boat ride. But when weather gets severe, it’s important to have everyone on the boat put on life jackets to ensure their safety if they were to fall overboard. This is true no matter how strong of a swimmer you are—you simply won’t be able to keep up with the water during a storm. It’s also a good idea to have harnesses attached to the cleats or tie-offs on your boat so you can keep people secure.
- Put away loose items: If you have loose, unnecessary items out on deck or inside the boat, stow them away. Objects that move and fall around could quickly become severe safety hazards, potentially causing injury or death. They could also fall overboard if you’re not careful. It’s best to keep them out of sight and prevent them from becoming a danger at all.
- Keep away from metal: If the storm has lightning, you’re going to want to make sure everyone on the boat stays away from any metal parts of the boat. Metal is, of course, highly conductive, which means there’s a chance you could experience severe electrocution if lightning happens to hit a metal object while you’re touching it. The best place to be is in the center of the cockpit during a storm so you can avoid this risk.
- Close everything up: Shut up all the windows and make sure all latches are securely fastened. It can be easy to forget to do this when a storm arises out of nowhere, simply because you’re going to have so many other tasks to take on, but closing everything up prevents water from getting through and flooding your cabin. Water that gets into your boat can weigh it down and increase the likelihood of capsizing.
- Slow down: Just as you would slow down while driving on the road during a heavy storm, you should also slow your boat down, keeping just enough power to be able to continue moving and steering in the direction you want despite the winds and churning waters. It’s okay for the water to be outrunning the boat—this will actually keep everyone on board much more comfortable. The faster you go, the more you risk losing control.
For more information about boating safety during a storm, contact the experts at Sea Wife Charters. We’d love to welcome you on a fishing charter in Hawaii during your next visit!