What weather is safe to go out boating in? What wind speed and swell sizes are suitable for small boats? The article below discusses safe weather conditions for boating.
The best conditions for boating in depends on a few factors. Firstly and most obviously, the size of your boat. Larger boats may obviously be able to go out in rougher conditions due to their sheer size. The information below relates to smaller boats around the 15-30 foot mark.
The wind speed and direction is a major factor in ensuring you have a safe and comfortable experience. Ideally the wind should be blowing at less than 15 knots and be offshore. Offshore winds mean the wind is blowing from the land out to the ocean. Offshore winds usually happen more in the morning. If they are higher than 15 knots it is usually uncomfortable and the further out to sea you go the rougher it gets.
Onshore winds blow from the ocean to the land. Most of the time any offshore winds are too much for any small recreational boat. If you do have to go out in offshore winds, make sure they are light and don’t get caught to far out to sea.
Swell is the other main factor that can affect small boats. Swell is the rising and falling movement of the oceans currents. A large swell (over 8 foot) can make offshore reefs break which can be extremely dangerous for small boats. Swell under 8 foot is ideal for small boats, as it will make the voyage both safer and smoother.
Any swell over 10 foot is extremely dangerous for small boaters. These conditions should always be avoided.
A final thing to remember is to always log in and out before and after every boating trip. Someone should always know where you are going, when you will be back and who to contact if you do not return.