For those of us who live and boat in Florida and on the Emerald Coast, we know all too well how quickly our weather conditions can turn. You may leave the dock early afternoon amidst blue skies and water conditions that are flat as a pancake, only to be caught in an afternoon deluge and thunderstorm that pops up and wreaks havoc without warning.
For these reasons, we highly recommend boaters ALWAYS pre-check the local weather forecast prior to departure. Feel free to search local sources as well as the Weather Channel on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Marine Forecasts page.
Seasoned skippers know to continually monitor weather conditions once underway including changes in wind direction and speed. Boaters should carry a VHF radio and keep it tuned to the weather channel frequency. Broadcasts of local and coastal marine forecasts run on a continuous cycle from the National Weather Service. Tidal information and real time observations from buoys are also included. In addition, dark cloud formations are also a pretty good indicator that something is brewing and to head back home.
It’s always best to plan your boating outings and to monitor weather activities in order to maximize your fun and minimize unsafe boating conditions.