Open water is perhaps one of the most dangerous environments known to man. The harsh and landscape means extreme exposure to weather conditions. Nonetheless, responsible boat operators can spend many happy hours on the water. However, when inclement weather threatens, they must try to prevent boat damage.
Boat insurance may provide help for boats damaged by severe weather. However, if a boater continues to operate despite severe weather, their actions may be negligent. Should the boater file a claim because they did not avoid weather hazards, an insurance company may deny the claim.
It is imperative that boaters do everything they can to protect their boats when weather threatens.
The Shore is Always the Safest
Leisure boaters should never stay on the water when severe weather threatens. This poses a risk to both the vessel and its passengers. The threat of lightning, wind, hail and even rain may cause damage to the vessel or harm the operator.
If you’re on the water and notice severe weather developments, make for the shore immediately. Even if you get caught in the weather, you have a better chance of reaching the shore by making an immediate return.
Store the Boat Properly
Boats still face weather damage risks when they are not in use. Storing the boat can help reduce the damage a boat may sustain in inclement weather. To store the boat:
- Consider using either a covered dock, boat cover or even dry dock for regular boat storage. Many manufacturers and insurers recommend using dry dock. Dry dock removes the boat from exposed water during severe weather. Never leave the boat exposed to the elements, even during regular storage.
- If you store the boat on the water, use proper anchoring and strong moorings to keep the boat in its place.
- Before inclement weather, remove your valuables and lock down the boat.
Furthermore, never neglect regular maintenance on your vessel. This may help reduce the chances of excessive damage from weather.
Boating in Severe Weather
If you don’t make it to shore before weather strikes, do everything you can to get your vessel and passengers to safe harbor. This often involves using various lifesaving and navigational techniques.
A conscientious boater should consider receiving training to operate in storms. A boating safety course may help you learn techniques that can help you navigate your boat in severe weather. You might learn light, steering, horn and radio techniques that help you navigate.