If you only think about the weather when the National Weather Service sends a warning, you may be thinking about it too late.

Small craft advisories are issued for different conditions depending on your location.  In Louisiana, for example, small craft advisories are issued when winds are expected to exceed 20 to 33 knots and/or seas are expected above seven feet for more than two hours. So, a late afternoon squall that can ruin your day won’t trigger such a warning in the morning; that doesn’t mean that the storms come out of nowhere. 

A quick look at the Weather Channel can be all it takes to stay informed of impending bad weather, but checking NOAA’s Weather Radio broadcast for your area is a must before any trip on the water. With detailed information on winds, sea states, currents, and water temperatures, these continually updated weather broadcasts provide detailed information that boaters should be aware of before heading out. 

Stay informed about the conditions you may face and balance them against the limits of your boat and your crew.  For more information on marine broadcasts, coastal weather, and hazardous weather outlooks, visit www.noaa.gov.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of the Department of Homeland Security or the U.S. Coast Guard.