Severe Weather Tips for Commercial Boaters

Severe Weather Tips for Commercial Boaters

Waves crashing into a light house

Commercial boaters face many risks while navigating open waters. One of the most significant risks is severe weather. High winds, heavy rain, thunderstorms, hail, and other weather conditions can risk the crew’s and cargo’s safety. Therefore, it’s essential to be prepared and know how to handle these situations. This blog post provides valuable severe weather tips for commercial boaters that they should know in order to stay safe.

Know the Warning Signs

The first step in staying safe during severe weather is to know the warning signs. Pay attention to weather forecasts and be aware of any alerts issued by the National Weather Service. Watch for sudden changes in the weather, such as a drop in temperature, increased wind speed, or changes in the clouds’ color and shape. Keep an eye on the water, too, as it can give clues about upcoming storms. If you notice a rapid drop in water temperature or a sudden increase in the size and frequency of waves, it’s time to start preparing for severe weather.

High Winds

High winds are one of the most common and dangerous weather conditions for commercial boaters. The strong gusts can push the vessel off course and capsize it. If caught in high winds, reduce the vessel’s speed and keep the bow in the wind. This will help you maintain control of the vessel and reduce the risk of capsizing. Also, secure all loose items on deck to prevent them from becoming dangerous projectiles.

Captain driving a boat

Heavy Rain

Heavy rain can reduce visibility, making navigation more challenging. Also, it can be slippery on the deck, increasing the risk of slips and falls. If caught in heavy rain, reduce your speed and turn on your navigation lights. Keep the deck clear of any standing water to reduce the risk of slips and falls. Also, ensure your windshield wipers are working correctly and keep them on throughout the storm.


Thunderstorms are another common and dangerous weather condition that commercial boaters face. They can produce lightning, strong winds, and heavy rain. If you are caught in a thunderstorm, reduce your speed and steer clear of the storm’s path. Lightning can be dangerous, so avoid any metal objects on the vessel. If you can, head for the nearest safe harbor and wait for the storm to pass.


Hail is a severe weather condition that can cause significant damage to the vessel and cargo. If you are caught in a hailstorm, reduce your speed, and try to find a sheltered area. Protect your cargo by covering it with tarps or moving it to a protected area. Also, protect your marine equipment by covering it with blankets or other protective materials.

Protecting Cargo

In severe weather conditions, protecting the cargo is crucial. Ensure it is properly secured before you set out, and regularly check it during the voyage. If you are caught in a storm, cover the cargo with tarps or move it to a protected area. Also, consider using straps or other restraints to keep the cargo in place.

Protecting Marine Equipment

Marine equipment is expensive and vital for the vessel’s operation. Therefore, it’s essential to protect it during severe weather conditions. Cover it with blankets or other protective materials to prevent hail or flying debris damage. Also, make sure all equipment is secured and fastened correctly.

Barge in an inland waterway

Navigating to a Safe Place

If you are caught in severe weather conditions, the best course of action is to head for a safe harbor or sheltered area. Check your charts and identify potential safe havens before you set out on your voyage. If you are caught in a storm, steer clear of any obstacles and head to the nearest safe place. If communications are still open, you should give the nearest harbor a warning of your arrival and check in with other vessels. 

Work With Archway Marine Lighting

The inland marine industry is essential to many areas, so it is vital to have the right equipment and team to consult with. At Archway Marine Lighting, we have been in the industry as a supplier for 30 years. Check out our catalog, and let’s connect today!