How Can I Tell if Bad Weather is Coming While Boating?


If you are like many boaters (ourselves included), you let very little come between you and a day on the water. Unfortunately, a bout of bad weather can throw a monkey wrench into your plans for a relaxing boating trip. Especially in the summer months, weather can change on a dime.

How to Spot Bad Weather While Boating

  • Did I check the forecast? It may seem redundant, but always check the forecast just before embarking on your trip — yes, even if you checked it just the night before. As we all know, meteorology can be a bit of a hit and miss science, and forecasts can change, well, with the weather.
  • Can I predict bad weather by looking at clouds? An easy way to get a gauge on the weather is to see if the clouds are flat, puffy, or tall and dark. In general, it’s the taller clouds that can lead to dangerous winds, rain and lightning.
  • Where can I listen to weather reports while on the water? Keep tuned to Coast Guard and NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards stations for regular broadcast updates.
  • What boating apps can I download to monitor the bad weather? There is a multitude of options when it comes to monitoring the weather on your smartphone. Some popular apps include NOAA SuperRes Radar HD, Skipper, and Boat Weather. There are many free and paid premium choices, so shop around to find the perfect app for your specific needs.

As we often say here at Hi-Tide Boat Lifts, preparation is the key to safety. Always keep the necessary safety gear aboard, complete regular commissioning checklists and continually monitor the forecast before and during your trip for signs of bad weather on the horizon. Though boating is great fun, if there’s even the possibility of bad weather rolling in, it may be better to err on the side of safety and hit the water when you, your passengers and vessels are in the clear.