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You should never leave the dock without first checking the local weather forecast. You can get the weather information from the TV, radio, local newspaper, on-line, or from one of the weather channels on your VHF radio.

At certain times of the year weather can change rapidly and you should continually keep a "weather eye" out. While you are out in a boat here are a few signs you can look for that indicate an approaching weather change:

  • Weather changes generally come for the west. Scan the sky with your weather eye, especially to the west.
  • Watch for cloud build up, especially rapid vertically rising clouds.
  • Sudden drop in temperature.
  • Sudden change in wind direction and/or speed.
  • If you have a barometer on your boat, check it every 2 to 3 hours. A rising barometer indicates fair weather and a rise in wind velocity; a falling barometer indicates stormy or rainy weather.
What To Do in Severe Weather
  • Reduce speed, but keep just enough power to maintain headway.
  • Put on your PFDs.
  • Turn on running lights.
  • Head for nearest shore that is safe to approach, if possible.
  • Head bow of boat into the waves at about a 45-degree angle.
  • Keep bilges free of water.
  • Seat passengers on bottom of boat near centerline.
  • If your engine fails, trail a sea anchor on a line from the bow to keep the boat headed into the waves. A bucket will work as a sea anchor in an emergency.
  • Anchor the boat if necessary

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