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You can do something about the weather

They say that you can’t do anything about the weather. That’s true in one sense, but not another. In addition to learning about the weather, there are some easy and important things to do about it. Here are a few suggestions:

• Plan your boating around the weather. It should be the primary factor as you make plans and as you carry them out.

• Unless you know that the forecasting is good, don’t rely exclusively on local TV stations to get the whole picture of weather relevant to boating. Know your forecasting sources. Be sure they’re good.

• Never hesitate to change plans if you think the weather’s going to change for the worse.

• Don’t wait until the weather goes south before taking action. Get into harbor or reef down the sails or change course or batten down — do whatever you need to do under the circumstances — before weather hits, not after.

• Never cut it close. Don’t leave one port bound for another if weather is going to be closing in. The run may look easy considering your boat’s speed, but also consider what could happen if you have a breakdown or the seas pick up and slow your progress. If a delay from either would be likely to put your arrival at a safe port after the onset of the storm, don’t go.

• Always anticipate the worst when you’re planning for weather. That way you’ll be better prepared and you’ll enjoy the good weather even more when you get it.

• Always be observant of the weather around you. Watch the clouds, pay attention to winds, study the waves, feel the air. Smell it. Never discount an observed phenomenon because the weather forecast didn’t mention it or because the forecast described weather inconsistent with what you see. Believe your own senses and take appropriate action.

• Even if you have sophisticated weather forecasting information, have a good barometer aboard and watch it. Tap it with your finger at least three or four times a day. If the needle jumps a little in the up or down direction, you may be seeing a significant trend.