Fog is a big nuisance to boaters. Beyond annoying, fog is dangerous and leads to a surprising number of accidents every year. As a general rule, it’s best to avoid operating your Crownline in foggy conditions. Of course, that’s easier said than done when an unpredictable weather pattern catches you off guard. If you’re stuck on the water in fog, follow these tips to keep you and your passengers safe until the weather clears.
First, when fog begins to creep onto the water, it’s important to take bearings, log your course, and check your speed. Slow down, pay close attention to your GPS and radar, and always expect the unexpected. In foggy conditions, a boat is required to emit a five-second horn blast or a whistle every 60 seconds. This alerts others to your position and will drastically reduce the chance of an accident until you can safely reach the shore.
Make sure every passenger is wearing a lifejacket and turn your navigation lights on. Never assume that other boats can see you. It’s also wise to have your passengers act as lookouts. Have one person at the front to spot your course and others throughout the boat to check for any vessels or obstacles that could pose a threat.
As you slowly navigate, pay close attention to your GPS, depth finder, radar, and weather apps. Keep your speed slow and stay on a safe course. From time to time reduce your speed enough for you to listen for other fog signals. If at any point you are not confident with the situation, drop anchor and make a game plan with your crew. Keep your navigation lights on and continue sounding the horn to warn others of your location.
Have a Plan
Fog can be deadly to boaters, so it’s critically important to follow a plan. Copy the summary below into your phone or better yet, print out a copy to store on board. It could make all the difference.
- As fog sets in, take bearings and mark your position on the chart while continuing to log your course and speed.
- Turn on your navigation lights.
- Make sure that all boat occupants have their PFDs on properly.
- If your boat is equipped with a depth sounder, compare readings with your surroundings on your chart.
- Have passengers act as lookouts.
- Reduce your speed. From time to time, cut your engine to listen for other fog signals.
- Sound your horn or whistle every minute to warn others of your location.
- Anchor if you have any doubt. Be sure to listen for other fog signals and continue to sound your horn or whistle.
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