Navigating a boat in broad daylight is hard, but it becomes harder when navigating in a heavy fog. Visibility is reduced, which requires special attention for boaters and sailors of all skill levels in boating. We all want safe boating, and you can use Yamaha outboards for safe boating, but sometimes unexpected foggy conditions will not let us do fun as we would typically do.
The reduced visibility is a sign of danger as it blocks out your vision. You need to ensure that you are ready to deal with pea soup fog or blinding rainstorms. It becomes challenging to figure out which direction they are coming from. These top ten tips help you gain the confidence to make your boating skill sharper, meet this challenge.
1. Prevention is best
Check weather forecasting before, and if you feel that it includes fog or you arrive on the boat seeing fog blocking your views, then leave the lines tied up until the danger passes.
2. Slow down
Assuming safe speed isn’t easy in restricted visibility. Anytime visibility is reduced, you should lower your boat’s speed. You will go slow to stop before hitting is not enough as other ships may be close to you at that speed. You need to ensure you have time to react, so you need to go slower than slow. Slowing down in a powerboat, having a Yamaha outboard also has the advantage of reducing wind noise. It gives you superior performance with efficiency.
3. Stop and drop anchor if necessary
If you are sailing in a low traffic area and cannot move comfortably, stop and drop your anchor. Waiting will be the best move as the fog will burn off as the day progresses or a breeze picks up. This can be accumulated only in areas with less traffic. In a busy shipping channel or inlet, stopping is the worst thing you can do. Other boats come upon you in short order. Also, it’s necessary even when at anchor to make the appropriate sound signals.
4. Know and use your sound signals
Watercraft use sound and horn signals to indicate their intention to other boaters. Powerboats underway should give a prolonged blast of four to six seconds of the horn once every two minutes. Some sign of sounds are :
- If the boat is drifting, then it should be two blasts.
- One second of a blast followed by a prolonged one and then one more short sound signal when at anchor.
- If you have a bell aboard, five-second ringing is also acceptable.
5. Utilize and learn your onboard electronics
Appropriate electronics need to be equipped on your boat, and you have to know how to use them. A good GPS will help you when it comes to course a boat in the fog. This is where radar becomes invaluable. If you have spent more time on the water and made extended voyages, then it’s a smart move to have radar in your boat. It takes time to practice and become accustomed to using both GPS and radar, but you need to learn these electronics before depending upon them. As if you don’t know how to operate and are familiar with interpreting what you see on their screens, it won’t help you.
6. Take help from your crew
As the boat captain, you need to look where you are going and simultaneously keep an eye on the navigational screen and engine gauges. In a thick fog where visibility is reduced, you should have someone to look at with you as it is said more is better. Looking around at all times will help you to take your boat safely to the destination. So assign crew members in different areas to monitor so you cannot miss a bit.
7. Look out on the depth finder
You need to look out and watch about the depth from your depth finder as it helps you obtain a lot of information about where you are precisely and which way you are traveling. You can compare the depth reading with Chartplotter, so it helps you to stay away from busy channels. It can also help you analyze where you are heading and help you stay away, and offer some warning if you are headed towards shore or shallow water in many areas.
8. Turn on navigational lights
The navigation rules require all vessels to show proper lights during darkness or reduced visibility at day or night. Your lights should be turned on anytime visibility is reduced, not only in the dark. Having your lights on or the anchor light if you are at anchor will make it easy for other boaters to spot you in a heavy fog.
9. Find a focal point for straight direction
You find nothing if you stare at fog. Find the point where you see fog and water meet and focus your gaze there. You will lose all points and start driving in circles if you focus on the fog itself. Using the ‘horizon’ as a focal point, you can go in more or less in a straight direction.
10. Listen for echoes
You will be using sound signals naturally in heavy fog, but many boaters fail to realize that your sound signal isn’t just useful for alerting your presence, but it also helps you figure out your presence. It’s all because of the echo. When there is little wind, you can hear the echo from land that may not be visible. This helps you to identify the location of an inlet or a creek mouth. Parallel to the land at idle speed, you know the land is there as long as you hear the echo. When the echo does not hit your ears, you have reached the creek mouth or river entrance.
With the help of this knowledge base tips, are you ready for boating in a fog? Not really. Boating in restricted visibility is going to be dangerous, so like we said, avoid it first by checking the weather when heavy fog threatens. Yamaha boats are your choice when you travel as yamaha outboards have a super efficiency and performance that helps you stay in a heavy fog. Knowing these knowledgeable tips help you in case you are stuck in a similar situation.