Boating and the Weather

April 5, 2021

Whether you are out on the lakes or on Long Island Sound weather plays an important role in everyday boating.  Weather traits are magnified on the water.  Hot days are hotter and cold days are colder.  The sun shines off the water into our eyes.  The winds get stronger with no resistance from trees.  Simple techniques can combat the symptoms of extreme heat and cold so first and foremost, dress appropriately for the day.

On cool days, bring an extra sweatshirt or windbreaker.  It cools off at night when you are on the water, therefore you should have an extra layer to put on.  Remember what our parents used to say, “bring the extra layer because you can always take it off if you don’t need it”.  Layering is the best technique against the cold.  Bring a cap and sunscreen on those hot days and some hand towels you can keep in cold water that you can put on your neck.   A good pair of sunglasses helps cope with bright sun glistening on the watery horizon.  Those who like to fish should have a good set of rain gear on board.  Not just a garbage bag with a hole cut through the bottom for your head!

Take time to handle the things you can control before you go out.  Plan what you need before you go out.  Being able to think on your feet is great but does not always lead to the best solution.


There are so many sources for the weather.  Where are you going to be?  For instance, if you’ll be doing most of your boating on lakes then weather apps are fine.  To clarify, apps like Weather Channel, Weather Bug, AccuWeather are all great sources.  Connecticut’s lakes are all relatively small so knowing where and when a storm cell is coming in is just fine.  In most cases we can get back to dock or shore within minutes.

Now, weather on the sound is a bit of a different story.  Wind speeds play a crucial role while on ocean waters.  Wind creates choppy waters, sea swells, and waves.  A great rule of thumb for Long Island Sound is when wind speeds exceed twenty knots, choose another day to go out boating.  Hence, not your family day on the Sound.  You should always be tuning in to the around the clock weather stations like Wx1 on your VHF.  This is a dedicated marine weather plotting station available to everyone.  If you are planning a trip, you should study the weather before you go out.  Go to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Weather Service (NWS) website for trip planning.  Always play it safe when it comes to the weather.  Weather is a huge contributor to emergency situations and ultimately fatalities on the water.

Above all, be smart, be safe, and remember there are no egos when passengers’ lives are in your hands.

Please visit our Public Course Schedule to view all of the classes we have available for you.  Zoom classes are now available.  There has never been an easier way to get your Boating Certificate

Here is a United States Map link on our government website for local forecasts:  Marine, Tropical and Tsunami Services Branch (