Cold Weather Boating – Off Season Months

Thursday, February 9, 2017

During the “off-season” months (for most October through April), it is even more important to practice safe boating. If you head out this cold weather season please remember some of these tips to help keep you safe:

Preparing for your cold weather journey .

• Is your boat able to safely navigate the rough seas and cold weather that you may encounter on your trip. If in doubt, don’t go.

• Keep abreast of the weather for the duration of your trip. It might be clear and sunny when you head out, but you never know what Mother Nature might have in store. Check the days forecast and if rain, snow, fog, high seas are predicted, it might be a good idea to postpone your trip.

• Ensure your vessel has adequate winter-rated life saving equipment. Properly fitting life jackets and/or immersion suits along with working life raft are highly recommended.


• File a Float Plan. Tell someone where you are going, how long you plan to be gone, when or if you plan to call or check-in during the trip, and when you are planning to return. If your plans change make sure you update someone and ensure the float plan gets updated too. Download the USCG Boating Safety App here:

• You must have a reliable means of communication.  A VHF marine-band radio is the best means of communication on the water. In addition to a VHF radio it is also advised you have a cell phone and/or satellite phone.

These are just a few basic tips. Bottom line, do your homework, and use some common sense.



  1. RL McLAURY says:

    Our flotilla uses a ” 50/50″ threshold ( 50 F. degree water temp/50 F. air temperature) as a planning tool for routine mission decisions. For heat stress we use a “80/80” (80 F. air temp/ 80% humidity).

  2. Kim says:

    Thank you for reminding boaters who like to use the off season to extend their boating fun how to be safe. It is easy to forget how dangerous cold waters can be and how quickly the weather can change at any moment. We like to offer our boaters live feeds of popular boating areas so that they can have an idea what the weather is doing before launching. Thanks again for sharing. It’s great for boaters to enjoy the water as much as possible, but it is crucial they understand the realities of the weather as well.

    For Florida’s live weather feed, check here –

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