Even though boating during the warmer months is more popular, plenty of people enjoy getting out during the winter as well. However, the cooler temperatures leave more to prepare for. Venturing out on the water soon?
Be sure to review our eight tips for boating safely during the winter months.
Tip 1 – Prepare Your Boat Equipment and Supplies – First, check the weather! It seems so obvious, but many people fail to look ahead and only base their decision to boat on the current weather.Next, check your boat’s fuel level, batteries, life jackets, and make sure your phone’s charged and you have a portable phone charger. Fuel stations may have shorter hours during the off-season, so make sure you get on the water early enough to fuel up. Think to gather up and check all equipment and devices that will help keep you safe.
Tip 2 – Consider an Additional Heat Source – While it’s not necessary, if your boat has a cabin, portable cabin heaters can make winter boating much more comfortable. There are many options for heaters that use fuel or work off your boat’s electrical system, but beware, they can drain the fuel and/or batteries. Monitor energy use and cycle the heater on and off to conserve resources.
Tip 3 – Dress for the Water and the Air – You may be inclined to layer up with bulky clothing for warmth, but instead opt for thinner clothing layers. Wear quick-drying synthetics or wool instead of cotton. If the unthinkable happens and you end up in the water, what you’re wearing could become a matter of life and death. You certainly don’t want heavy clothing items weighing you down and not drying out quickly. Become familiar with the symptoms of hypothermia and frostbite to ensure you’re taking all precautions to prevent them.
Tip 4 – Protect Your Hands, Feet, Eyes, and Head – Focus on these 4 areas of your body for optimal warmth. Neoprene gloves are an excellent option for the protection of your hands. Choose boots that are waterproof with non-slip treads and well insulated. Wear wool socks and change them often when staying out for long periods. The winter sun can be blinding, and the winter wind can cause your eyes to water uncontrollably. Ski goggles are an excellent choice for eye protection. They are designed for winter conditions and offer protection for a larger area of your face. Most of your body heat however is lost from your head. To keep your head warm, you should wear a lined hat that will retain heat.
Tip 5 – Pack Plenty of Food, Water and Avoid Alcohol – You will want to stay hydrated and have meals and snacks prepared for how long you plan to be out on the water. Pack extra in the event you break down or are out longer than expected. Consider a thermos with broth or soup to keep warm. Your body expends more energy in the cold, so make sure you have adequate calorie intake. Always Avoid alcohol while boating. Not only does it impair your judgment and reaction time, but it’s also a diuretic and can lead to dehydration if you’re not drinking enough water.
Tip 6 – Keep Travel Distances Short – When the sun sets earlier and the air gets colder quicker, shorter boat trips are suggested in the winter. Most people aim to be in by sunset, but if you must be out at night, make sure you are prepared for the colder air and nighttime conditions. Verify your searchlight is equipped with extra batteries.
Tip 7 – Don’t Go Alone. Should the boat break down or someone goes overboard, it’s recommended to go boating with at least one other person. The second person is there to lend a hand and could potentially help save the other person’s life, depending on the severity of the situation.
Tip 8 – Upgrade to SmartPlug – Lastly, be sure to equip your watercraft with SmartPlug technology. Your safety needs to be a top priority when it comes to operating your watercraft. If your electrical connection is outdated and/or shows signs of weathering, burns, or rust, it’s time for an upgrade. SmartPlug is a revolutionary electrical connection that features triple weatherproof seals, a solid sleeve connection, and just plugs right in without twisting. Visit our website to shop an array of products, and don’t hesitate to reach out to our team should you have any questions on which is best for your boat.
Now that you’ve reviewed our eight tips for boating safely during the winter months, you’re ready to hit the water. Stay warm and be safe!