One thing you can’t escape as a mariner is a sea storm. All you can do is prepare beforehand and know what to do when you’re caught in one. Here are some tips to help you overcome a sea storm.
- Perform general maintenance on your boat so it doesn’t break down when your life depends on it running smoothly and under pressure.
- Carry necessary gear: VHF radio, life jackets, marine charts, navigation light equipment and so forth.
- Check the weather before leaving the dock using trust sources like the Weather Channel or the NOAA. http://www.noaa.gov/
- Don’t let your trip exceed your boat’s range.
- Leave a trip plan behind that lists: where you’re going, what you’ll be doing and when you will return.
- Practice using your boating gear such as storm sail (ideally stored in an easily accessible spot) in good weather conditions.
- Secure content on your boat so it doesn’t injure passengers or damage the boat in case of a storm.
- Last but not least, boat insurance, you’ll find, is not such a bad idea after all.
- Make sure all passengers wear life jackets
- Often it’s difficult to tell how severe the storm is by merely looking at it. What you can do is measure how far a storm is from you. Here’s how you do it: count the number of seconds between lightning flashes and thunderclaps and divide it by 5. That’s how many miles away the storm is from your boat.
- The fast movement of waves will produce foam and the waves can go up high on top of the boat making it difficult to see. The force of the
- Try to steer your vessel for the area of the sea with the shallowest waves and lowest winds, the side counterclockwise from the storm’s leading edge.
- Make sure that you have sea room to avoid colliding with other vessels and you’re far away from land so you don’t crash into it.
- Steering becomes more difficult and will a lot of effort to steer against the direction the storm is pushing you towards. The waves become so large and powerful that your ship gets pushed in one direction or the other.
- Your boat must have steering way in that it should be able to steer itself even in the midst of a storm rather than being pushed and pulled by the storm. You will constantly feel as though your vessel is going to capsize and to avoid you need to keep the bow facing the waves and will require forward momentum to be able to overcome that. Maintain a 45-degree angle just fast enough to maintain steerage
- Though statistics rate the chances of a boat being struck by lightning at one in a thousand, your odds become higher depending on how often you’re on the water. Lightning can strike your boat from time to time so make sure your passengers stay in the cabin. Store your small electronic valuables in the microwave as it is a Faraday Cage since it’s made of steel and will allow the electric current to pass through the conducting material without reaching whatever is inside. If you are at the helm, wearing waterproof (rubber) gloves and shoes help a great deal.
- Keep the bilges free of water
- If you can’t move to a safe spot, anchor your boat
- Wait 30 minutes before getting back to your normal activities
- Assess the damage (if any) on your boat. Get a professional inspection done to ensure that your boat is safe to get back on the water. Even minor damage can lead to leaks so it’s best to repair it before the damage spreads. The inspection will also come handy when you make a claim with your insurance provider.
Make a note of what you did right and what your opportunities are because chances are you will end up in a similar situation again in your life as a marine.
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