What to do if You Encounter Bad Weather While Boating

What to do if You Encounter Bad Weather While Boating

11:43 17 June in Personal

It’s summertime, so, naturally everyone in the North Dakota area is looking for a body of water to visit, in order to engage with during our scarce fair weather months. Boating and other water sports activities can provide much needed entertainment as well as a way to cool off and let go.

However, what happens if you or your loved ones get caught in an unexpected thunderstorm or other natural disaster during our summer months filled with erratic weather. Despite meteorologist’s suggestions, there will always be times when sudden or unpredicted storms will take place. Here a few things that you can do to try to prepare and stay safe during erratic weather conditions when on the water.

Stay Calm

The most important thing to remember when the unthinkable happens is to stay calm. Remind everyone to wear their lifejackets and to keep staying safe as their highest priority.

Be Aware

Check to see what surrounds you. How close are you to other boats? If your visibility is down to a minimum, slow down to ensure you don’t run into dangerous shorelines or nearby watercraft. Try honking your horn at 20 second intervals to be sure that your location is known to other panicked boaters.

Stick with the Boat

If your crew falls overboard, be sure to stay nearby the watercraft (of course, this varies by situation). It is much easier for rescue crews to find boats than it is to find stray human beings. Your risk of hypothermia or other diseases caused by extreme temperature changes also drastically decreases the less time you spend in the water.

Come Prepared

Obviously, be sure to have essential boating safety gear on board whenever you leave shore. Lifejackets for everyone riding, a GPS and a working radio tuned in to the national weather service.

Don’t send your anchor out

Tossing your anchor in is usually not a good idea unless you have lost all of your visibility or you are in a very near proximity to a dangerous shoreline.

Learn about Storm Behavior

Before you take your friends and loved ones out on a ride, one of the best ways you can prevent horrible situations and ensure their safety is to learn how different types and directions of wind will effect your surroundings and what they mean in terms of a storm’s typical duration or severity.


Most of the time, storms are predicted by professional meteorologists or are visibly clear before you adventure on to the water. But, unexpected weather is not unheard of and can sometimes be erratic or more extreme than expected. These are just a few tips that can help keep you and your loved ones safe when you are on vacation at the lakes this summer. Be sure to research further instructions or take a boat safety course before you venture onto the water.