Boat Safety - Know Your Weather Signs
Checking the weather before you leave for a day of boating is important but it will not prevent weather problems. At many times of the year and in different areas of the country, the weather can change rapidly, and even professionals have trouble predicting these changes.
Weather changes generally come from the west. While underway, you should continue to check the weather.
Flat clouds (or stratus -- little vertical development) are normally associated with stable air
Puffy clouds (or cumulus - considerable vertical development) indicate unstable air. The greater the vertical development of the cloud, the greater the instability
Thunderstorm clouds have the greatest vertical development and the associated weather is quite violent
If you are caught in foul weather:
Reduce speed. Proceed with caution. Put on PFD or life vest on all passengers and crew
Head for nearest shore that is safe to approach.
Head bow into waves at about a 40 degree angle
Secure loose items. Have emergency gear ready
Keep bilges free of water
Seat passengers on bottom of boat near center line
If your engine fails anchor the boat