Here in Florida, we enjoy summer-like boating conditions just about all year long. Boaters and yachtsmen in other parts of the country may not be as lucky, but that doesn’t mean that they all put their vessels in “cold storage” for the winter!
Many feisty yacht owners or their stalwart captains from New England to the Great Lakes, will still take their yacht out in these colder months. It takes a special breed of yacht owner to brave wintery waters, and some special considerations for operating your yacht when the temperatures drop!
Practical Tips for Cold Water Boating
- Clothing – It may sound obvious, but bathing suits and bikinis are not the uniform of the day to wear on a winter yacht excursion. Be sure to dress properly. Wearing many insulated layers is key to keeping warm when you’re out on the water. Those layers could be bulky and uncomfortable, but could be a literal “lifesaver” should you somehow wind up in the frigid waters! For that reason, you may also want to consider wearing an insulated “float coat,” a garment designed to keep you warm, but is also a USCG approved PFD!
- Risk Assessment and Preparation – Understand that any onboard emergency from an injured or sick passenger, to the breakdown of a critical system, can be much worse during cold weather. Be prepared for the worst, and make sure you have taken all adequate precautions. Be sure all of your emergency and safety gear is in working order, and it is a good idea for boats that are used regularly in cold weather to have backups and redundancies on major systems, such as extra generators, and “get home propulsion.”
- Watch Your Speed – If you are going through icy waters, go slowly. Speeding through ice can easily damage your gelcoat or other outer surfaces of your yacht.
- Float Plan – Make sure you have left a “float plan” with a responsible individual who knows your intentions, location, and who to call, if you fail to return as scheduled.
- Communications – Make sure your VHF radio is functioning properly, and that you know how to use it!
- Weather – Have a radio that monitors the NOAA radio frequency onboard, and be prepared for any sudden and dangerous changes in weather.
The Value of Preventive Maintenance
Of course, before venturing out in winter, it is imperative that your yacht is in peak operating condition, any breakdown, or emergency, can be that much worse in cold weather!
Preparing your yacht for the winter, is all part of a comprehensive plan of preventive maintenance. Any boat owner will tell you it is far less costly in time and money to be proactive, and make every effort to prevent problems, than it is to repair them once they occur!
Preventive maintenance not only saves you on costly repairs, it extends your yachting season, as well as the life of your yacht! One way to ensure that your yacht is ready to go all year round, is to sign up for our On Demand Yachting or Charter Income programs.
Operating a motor yacht can be costly. You can reduce your expenses, and avoid costly repairs by keeping her well maintained. On Demand yachting from FYM can help. If you would like to learn more, or if you have any questions or comments about this blog post, do not hesitate to contact our Yacht Management specialists, or call us at (954) 900-9968.