Be prepared for adverse weather
British summers have the habit of being quite changeable. On land this can be an inconvenient truth but on water - whether in a sail or motor boat - it can have serious consequences. While there is nothing to be done about the weather itself, plenty of action can be taken to minimise its effect.
Our team here in Pembrokeshire (a beautiful corner of Wales with fantastic sailing and boating possibilities) suggests the following actions will help you make the most of your trip on the water:
1) Factor in weather as part of your planning. A short day out close to land will have different demands compared to a longer trip out to the islands (or even further afield).
2) Check the weather forecast before, and during, your trip. If heading out to more open water make sure you check an inshore waters forecast. Be prepared to make alternate plans if the situation changes. And make sure you know how to get help (before you go afloat) if you get into difficulties.
3) Dress appropriately. And carry spares. It's so easy to forget that the conditions on water are usually colder, especially if you will be travelling at speed - or if you get wet. Make sure everyone aboard brings something warm with them and, ideally, some waterproof clothing and a hat. It doesn't have to be expensive, just something that will keep them warm and dry if the need arises.
4) Wear life jackets. We can't stress enough how important this could be. Follow the link for more information about buoyancy aids and life jackets.
4) Be prepared to turn in early if the weather is deteriorating and unlikely to recover.
5) Pack food and drink - ideally with a flask of something hot (unless you have a galley). This can really lift the spirits in poor weather.
6) Find a safe haven. There are two marinas on the Milford Haven Waterway, and plenty of quiet corners - but make sure you check your charts and talk to locals (if you don't know the Waterway). You can also contact the Water Ranger for advice. Click here to find out more.
7) If it's windy but sunny watch for sunburn. Sunscreen is another must for your boat.
In the event of sun
Of course those hot summer days come along and herald a wonderful day on the water. But do also need to be planned for. Here are some things to remember:
1) Take plenty of water (and food).
2) Hats, sunglasses and sunscreen will help protect you from the sun overhead and from the glare from the water.
3) While it can be tempting, alcohol, water and boats don’t mix and alcohol can be the cause of accidents - just like on the road. With the importance of safety in mind, the Port of Milford Haven has a bye-law stating that you are not allowed to navigate while drunk so you could end up in court just the same as on the road. Everyone has the right to enjoy themselves on the water, but in a way that does not put others at risk.
4) And, always be prepared for a change in the weather - a short shower might be welcome but if it is set to change, this could ruin your plans. Take something warm and some waterproofs.
These simple steps can ensure every one stays safe and comfortable and steps ashore looking forward to the next voyage.