How Do I Stay Safe if I Get Caught in a Storm While Boating?

Caught in a Storm

You’ve picked up those pesky groceries you’ve been avoiding getting all week and stroll out of the store to an unwelcome surprise. The sky darkens and, seemingly instantaneously, the rain pours on you, your whole wheat bread and farm-fresh eggs. Being caught in a storm is never fun, but transfer this inconvenience to the open water and amplify the danger caused by heavy rains, high winds and intense lightning.

How Can I Handle Being Caught in a Storm?

  • What should I do first if I’m caught in a storm? Remain calm and focus on getting life jackets secured on all passengers and securing your deck by closing all watertight compartments, shutting doors and windows to avoid your ship taking on water. It’s also a smart idea to check your coordinates to assess whether your ship is in danger of running ashore, as well as figure out how best to navigate to safety or, in worst case, know where to report an emergency.
  • What should I tell my passengers to do to remain safe on my boat? Get your passengers to either sit low in the boat or remain below deck to avoid the winds and waves knocking them overboard.
  • How should I drive my boat in a storm? Your instincts may tell you to jet out of the rough weather as fast as possible, but this is extremely dangerous. Experts recommend slowing to the speed of the sea itself in order to avoid loss of control.
  • What do I do if my engine dies after being caught in a storm? If you cannot make it safely to shore and your engine dies, anchor your ship, turn on your lights, secure all emergency safety devices and be ready to radio the coast guard to signal for help if conditions worsen.

If caught in a storm, never panic. Keeping a clear head and relying on training and preparation can save your ship — and maybe even your neck. Do a bit of preparation and always keep a close eye on the weather whenever you hit the water. If you’re concerned about keeping your ship safe when it’s docked, Hi-Tide Boat Lifts can prevent the damage caused by getting caught under or hitting the docks. As always, stay safe and have a fun (hopefully sunny) time on your next boating adventure.