August 26, 2014
By Florida Sportsman
Three easy safety and fishing tips from BoatUS that will help you get safely through the fishing season.
In many parts of the country, people are asking when did spring end and summer begin? Anglers and boaters are taking advantage of the warm weather. But there are definitely weather considerations. Expect daily afternoon thunderstorms. Fishermen should always watch the weather and horizon, even if there's not a single cloud in the morning. If your boat has mechanical problems, then a storm rolls in, that can become a nasty situation quickly.
Don't allow the warm weather to let your guard down: The air temperatures may be downright balmy, but deceptively cold waters at certain times of the summer can play havoc. This phenomena is known as coldwater upwellings. The fishing can shutdown when one comes through, and WOW! can it be a pain. Divers not this all too well! It never hurts to have rain gear and extra towels aboard.
Coldwater Upwellings Explained by Rutgers University:
Plan on how to get back in the boat:
During the summer months, the surface of the ocean near our coast is heated by the sun. This warming causes stratification (warm surface/cold bottom). Typically, winds during our summer months are from the southwest, bringing all that hot humid air up from the Gulf of Mexico. These winds do not blow that surface layer to the northeast, but to the southeast. This 90 degree difference in wind and water current direction is due to the spin put on the water by the earth's coriolis force (earth's spin). When the warm surface water is blown offshore, the cold buttom water rises, like a conveyor belt, and hits the beach. This cold water also brings sediment up from the bottom. Phytoplankton (microscopic plants) which float along the surface, used this sediment as food and bloom, causing the water to [sometimes] become green and murky.
If you accidentally went overboard, do you have a way to get back aboard? You may be surprised how hard this can be--especially if you are alone or haven't prepared for it. It could be as simple as having a rope with looped foot holds affixed to a cleat that can easily be grabbed from the water.
Refresh your memory:
Take a boating safety course now from the comfort of your own home. The no-cost BoatUS Foundation Online Boating Safety course, which is designed so that you can stop and then continue at any time, includes videos that demonstrate important safety devices such as flares, shows the rules of the road, how to get help in an emergency, and the best way to fit a life jacket to a child so they will not slip out. Go to BoatUS.org/onlinecourse. It may also help you save money on boat insurance and meet your state's requirements for boating safety education.