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    People of Weather–Ready Nation: Rachel Johnson, National Safe Boating Council

    People National Program

    People of Weather–Ready Nation: Rachel Johnson, National Safe Boating Council

    Weather.gov > People > People of Weather–Ready Nation: Rachel Johnson, National Safe Boating Council

    Weather Safety Safety Campaigns Ambassador Education Collaboration News & Events International About

    Rachel Johnson, CAE, the Executive Director of the National Safe Boating Council (NSBC).

    NOAA’s Weather–Ready Nation initiative is about building community resilience in the face of increasing vulnerability to extreme weather and water events.

    In People of Weather–Ready Nation, we sit down with some of the people responsible for building a Weather­Ready Nation. We recently talked to Rachel Johnson, the Executive Director of the National Safe Boating Council (NSBC).

    1. What does a Weather–Ready Nation mean to you?

    One thing that affects every single boating trip is the weather. Responsible boaters always remember to check the weather forecast before their trip and keep an eye on weather reports throughout their day on the water. The National Safe Boating Council sees Weather-Ready Nation as a critical part of providing current weather information so that boaters can make educated, informed decisions each and every time they go boating. Even a sunny day on the water offers the opportunity to share a few safety reminders: always wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat, and stay hydrated while enjoying a day of boating.

    2. How are you helping to build a Weather–Ready Nation?

    The National Safe Boating Council's mission is safer boating through education, outreach, and training. As a Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador, we work hard to deliver key boating safety education and outreach to boaters, including general tips and information about how boating and weather go hand-in-hand. In addition to always wearing a life jacket while boating and to never boat under the influence, we're committed to educating boaters about weather-related topics like knowing what to do when a storm quickly develops while they're on the water and how to protect everyone onboard when a lightening storm threatens their safety. We believe it is important to showcase the tools on weather.gov. The homepage offers critical safety information to help educate boaters on topics including Gale Force Winds, Special Marine Warnings, and Winter Storm Watches.

    3. What is the biggest challenge you see in making the nation ready, responsive, and resilient to extreme events?

    Communication is key: to best develop a Weather-Ready Nation, the influencers need to work together to deliver messaging that the public will not only want to hear, but will want to take action on. No matter the platform, whether it be through radio, television, or social media, creating the direct link to the public makes the biggest difference. When people are provided with critical information to keep themselves and those they love safe, they'll be much more receptive to the message and call to action being communicated to them.


    Rachel Johnson, CAE, is the Executive Director of the National Safe Boating Council (NSBC). She serves as the technical content advisor in direct support of the NSBC’s education, training, and outreach programs; plans and develops national boating safety awareness projects and campaigns; and serves as a representative of the NSBC to national and international organizations.

    Source : www.weather.gov

    Checking Weather and Water Conditions BOATsmart! Knowledgebase

    The importance of checking the weather and water conditions before going boating. Includes how to use local weather reports and how to stay safe in a storm.


    Checking Weather And Water Conditions

    59487 views 4 min , 23 sec read 5


    Keeping an eye to the sky is an important part of planning any outdoor adventure. In many cases, both your safety and your enjoyment of the outdoor trip will depend entirely on the weather conditions. Check the weather forecast before you leave the dock–but be aware that the weather can change very rapidly. Thunderstorms can roll in as ‘fast as lightning’. So, what’s the best practice for tackling bad weather? Be prepared for it.


    All boat operators require a basic level of skill and competency to operate a boat safely. However, if you get caught in bad weather, you will need advanced operating skills in order to return to the dock safely. This is particularly true if your boat is difficult to navigate in rough water (such as flat-bottom boats). Only risk operating your boat in bad weather if you are confident that you can handle the pressure. Otherwise, make the smart choice to stay on shore.

    Statistics tell us that most boating accidents occur during good weather conditions. When you combine poor weather conditions with low boater skill level and an unexpected emergency, the results can be disastrous. Never compromise your safety by boating in bad weather.

    Safe Boating Tip:

    Know your boat’s range and plan your trip accordingly to stay within it. Know if the distance you plan on travelling will take you 5 minutes or 2 hours!


    Find the latest weather reports by turning on your T.V., tuning into your VHF FM radio, or going online. You should also check the weather the good, old-fashioned way—go outside and take a good look at the sky and the water! Avoid having to deal with severe weather by doing your homework and finding the weather report BEFORE you leave the dock!

    It’s the boat operator’s responsibility to decide whether to continue or to make adjustments to a trip if the weather forecast is less than ideal.

    Official weather reports for boaters are provided through the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). You can listen to the NOAA’s weather updates on the radio on the following stations:

    WX1 (162.550 MHz). WX2 (162.400 MHz). WX3 (162.475 MHz).

    The NOAA provides a visual alert system to warn boaters when weather and or/water conditions become dangerous.There are four warning signs that are used during the day and four warnings lights that are used at night:

    Small Craft Advisory:

    A warning of weather conditions that may be dangerous for small boats. This warning indicates winds of at least 18 knots (24 mph) and rough, wavy conditions.

    Gale Warning:

    A warning of strong winds within the range of 34-47 knots (39-54 mph).

    Storm Warning:

    A warning of winds within the range of 48-63 knots (55-73 mph).

    Hurricane Warning:

    A warning that indicates hurricane winds of 64 knots (74 mph) and higher. This warning identifies that a combination of dangerously high water and rough seas are expected to impact a specified coastal area.


    Although you should always check the official weather forecast before you go boating, you should always be watching out for the development of any of these dangerous conditions:

    Fog, dark clouds and lightning.

    A falling barometer (If the barometer falls, you can expect rain to fall too).

    A noticeable halo around the sun or moon (this usually indicates rain).

    Changes in the direction and temperature of the wind (a drop in temperature indicates a storm).

    Puffy, vertically rising clouds.

    Watch out for the West: Foul weather usually comes from the west, but storms from the east tend to be the most powerful.


    Source : www.boatsmartexam.com

    Weather Conditions & Boating in Rough Water

    Learn more about planning boating trips and how to check and monitor weather conditions through NOAA, plus how to operate your vessel in rough water.

    Checking Local Weather and Water Conditions

    Before any boating trip, you should check the short-term and long-term local weather forecast as reported on the radio, TV or Internet. You should always factor these weather forecasts into your preparations as you make your trip plan. For example, you'll want to avoid certain types of weather whenever possible, such as heavy fog or strong winds. You'll also want to pay particular attention to hurricane warnings; you should never go boating if there is a hurricane warning in effect.

    Once on the water, tune a portable radio to a VHF-FM weather station that broadcasts the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to get accurate, detailed and up-to-date weather information. N-O-A-A Weather Radio is frequently updated and covers the coastal areas of continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, and the Mariana Islands with continuous weather broadcasts. It's your best resource for weather information while on the water. You'll find the NOAA broadcasts on the following frequencies:

    WX1 WX2 WX3

    162.550 MHz 162.400 MHz 162.475 MHz

    These broadcasts include weather information like temperature, humidity, wave conditions, barometric pressure, as well as wind speed and direction--- all important factors for determining when and where to boat, and when to head for shore.

    Monitor Weather While on the Water

    Since the weather can change very quickly, particularly when you're out on the water, it is vital that you pay close attention to weather forecasts and anticipate weather changes whenever possible.

    Here are some tips for keeping on top of weather changes while out on the water:

    Always keep an eye to the sky. Fog, dark clouds and lightning are clear signs that bad weather is approaching.

    Monitor barometric readings. A rising barometer is a sign that good weather is coming while a falling barometer indicates that foul weather is likely.

    Pay close attention to shifts in the wind direction and temperature; these are signs that the weather is changing.

    Be mindful of the West as bad weather usually approaches from this direction. Storms from the East often pack quite a wallop.

    Continually monitor your radio and weather channels and ask for information about local weather patterns by radio, especially if you're in unfamiliar waters.

    Finally, take note of what other boaters are doing. If they're heading for shore, it can give you a heads up about coming weather changes.

    Boating in Rough Water

    If you're out on the water and a storm is heading your way, you should prepare yourself, your passengers and your boat by taking the following steps:

    Make sure that everyone on board is wearing a lifejacket and that it is secured properly.

    Reduce your speed and continue with caution, keeping an eye out for other boats and floating debris.

    Close all hatches and ports to avoid swamping.

    For stability and safety, get your passengers to stay low in the boat near the centerline.

    Secure any loose items to avoid losing them overboard.

    Pump out the bilges so that your boat sits higher in the water.

    Check marine charts to find the nearest shelter, noting any hazards in the area;

    And proceed cautiously to the nearest safe shoreline.

    If a storm has already hit, here are some additional tips to ensure the safety of everyone on board:

    If there is lightning, unplug all electrical equipment. Stay low in the boat and away from metal objects.

    Head the bow of the boat into waves at a 45-degree angle. This will keep the boat in the most stable position.

    If your engine stops, drop an anchor from the bow to combat drifting and swamping. Never drop anchor from the stern.

    Remember, whenever you are boating in stormy weather, your first step is to make sure that all persons on board are wearing United States Coast Guard-approved personal flotation devices.

    Checking Local Hazards: Obtain Weather Forecast Information

    It's important to learn about local hazards before going boating in any new or unfamiliar waters. You can do this by obtaining local marine charts and/or checking with local boaters and marinas.

    Local boaters and marinas typically have a wealth of knowledge about boating in their area and are usually more than happy to share it.

    You should also find out if there are local rules such as horsepower restrictions, hours of operation, or access to locking operations that could impact your trip.

    Now let's review some of the hazards that you'll want to be aware of when boating.

    Local Hazards to be Wary of:

    Whitewater Areas

    Whitewater areas can very easily drag a boat or person downstream. Rocks, debris, as well as a strong, rushing current, are some of the dangers of whitewater.

    Shoaling Areas

    Shoaling areas (marked and unmarked) become shallow gradually and are often difficult to spot without local charts.

    Hazardous Inlets

    Hazardous inlets can produce abnormal currents or changes in water levels.

    Abnormal Tides or Currents

    Abnormal tides or currents can affect your ability to properly navigate or steer your vessel.

    Source : www.boaterexam.com

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