For those of us who face a daily commute, anticipating a foggy drive is relatively easy. In most cases, you can simply look out the window and what you see is what you get. When it comes to boating, fog can be a little harder to anticipate. Bodies of water often have more fog than other areas. There is even a specific type of fog, called sea fog or lake fog, that forms when warm air flows over cool water.
As a boater, it’s important to be prepared for foggy conditions, even when you’re not expecting it. These tips will help you boat effectively in the fog to keep you, your passengers, and other boaters safe.
Watch your speed
The first thing to do anytime your visibility is limited is to slow down. Reduce your speed until you feel comfortable that you can navigate and react effectively. While slower speeds don’t necessarily prevent accidents, they give boaters more time to react to circumstances and reduce the impact in the event a collision occurs.
Focus on what you can see
One of the most difficult aspects of navigating a boat in the fog is that it can easily cause disorientation. If you stare into the white abyss, you can easily lose your sense of direction and position relative to things around you. Focus on the furthest intersection you can see between water and fog and focus on that point. By keeping a point of reference, you can ensure you are continuing to travel in a single direction and not going in circles.
Only stop in strategic locations
If you need to stop boating due to poor visibility, it’s important you do it in a place where there is little traffic and that you are out of anyone’s potential path. Never stop inside or at the mouth of an inlet, as it can not only can cause your boat harm, but also many others in the event a traffic jam forms.
If you can avoid it, try not to take your boat out in the fog or other conditions that may lead to poor visibility. If you find yourself boating in dense fog, use these tips to help get back to shore safely.