Chapter 3 Review — Trip Planning and Preparation
Before proceeding to the quiz, take a moment to review some of the highlights from Chapter 3 — Trip Planning and Preparation.
CHECKING WEATHER/WATER CONDITIONS
It is important to check local weather forecasts on radio, TV, or the Internet before any boating trip. The boat operator is also responsible for checking local hazards before a boating trip.
Always keep an eye to the sky to watch for dark clouds and lightning as weather conditions on the water can change quickly. Keep in mind that foul weather typically approaches from the west.
Pay attention to barometric readings (atmospheric pressure); a falling barometric reading means foul weather is approaching.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) uses the following flags to warn boaters of severe weather conditions:
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY — where observed or forecast winds are between 18 and 33 knots.
GALE WARNING — where observed or forecast winds are between 34 and 47 knots.
STORM WARNING — observed or forecast winds are 48 knots or greater.
HURRICANE WARNING — observed winds are are 64 knots or greater.
COPING WITH FOUL WEATHER
PREPARATION FOR A STORM
If there is the threat of an approaching storm while on the water, the operator should take the following actions in addition to others:
Ensure that all those onboard are wearing a Personal Flotation Device
Head to the nearest safe shoreline.
WHEN A STORM HITS
If you are caught on the water when a storm hits and lighting is present always be sure to unplug all electrical equipment.
If the water becomes rough during a storm, make sure your vessel approaches waves at a 45-degree angle.
CHECKING LOCAL HAZARDS
Before boating on a new or unfamiliar body of water it is important that the operator check for local hazards. The BEST method to check for these hazards is to consult marine charts or ask local boaters.
It is equally important to determine the location of shoaling areasmud flats or sandbars typically composed of sand, silt or small pebbles deposited by water currents. on unfamiliar bodies of water as they are often difficult to spot even with local charts.
One local hazard to pay particular attention to are SHOALING AREAS (marked and unmarked), these areas become shallow gradually and are often difficult to spot without local charts.
LOW HEAD DAMS are another hazard to be weary of. They are often difficult to spot from upstream and pose a hazard both above and below the dam.
A float plan should be left with a responsible person on shore. This is a wise decision for any boating trip—but for longer trips in particular.
The float plan should include the approximate location you plan to boat and when you expect to arrive home, so that they know the appropriate date and time to contact authorities if an emergency situation arises.