Just because it’s getting colder outside doesn’t mean you need to put bass boats in storage for the rest of the season! In fact, cold weather boating can still be exciting and invigorating. It comes with some risks, but none that can’t be planned for and prevented. Read through our cold-water boating tips before your next adventure so you can safely enjoy a plethora of benefits this time of year, like beautiful seasonal foliage and less traffic on the water.
Check the Forecast
Before you depart the dock, check the current weather and water temperature, and be sure to monitor it consistently throughout your boating excursion. It’s important to consider that a beautiful day can be ruined quickly by an unexpected rain shower. Furthermore, we suggest knowing what types of sea conditions all your guests onboard can handle so that you know when to return to shore.
Create a Float Plan
What’s included in a float plan? It should include the names of every passenger, your destination, departure and arrival times, a description of your boat, and emergency contact information. Then, leave this plan with a trustworthy family member or friend and promise to contact them as soon as you get back to shore. This way, if anything were to happen to your boat while you’re on the water, there will be someone who knows to call for help.
Stock Up on Safety Equipment
Life vests should be included in every boating trip, no matter the time of year, but they are especially critical in cold weather. What many boaters don’t realize is that they hold heat into the core areas of your body in addition to providing buoyancy, which will greatly increase anyone’s odds of survival if they end up overboard. Furthermore, make sure you have a comprehensive first aid kit and thermal blankets on board.
Bundle Up and Keep Warm
Cold water can present some surprising risks, even when the air temperature is mild. You should always dress for the water temperature instead of the weather. Plus, wind rapidly sucks away body heat, so having multiple layers will do wonders to keep your body heat intact. Your outer layer should be wind- and waterproof while still allowing perspiration moisture to escape. Don’t forget some extra clothes, either – they’ll be handy in a pinch!
Always Keep One Hand on the Boat
Cold weather boating can affect your ability to maintain balance more than you realize. This is because it’s harder to stay upright when your feet get colder, which is almost a certainty when you go boating in cold water. Also, bundling up with multiple layers of clothes inhibits your ability to stay nimble. That is why we recommend always keeping one hand on the boat for support whenever walking around on deck.
Though fewer boating accidents occur in the colder months, a higher percentage of those are fatal compared to warmer months. For that reason, safety should be a priority for each on-the- water adventure you take until temperatures heat up again. As long as you’re boating safely, then there’s nothing stopping you from indulging in all your favorite activities aboard bass fishing boats!