Only the very foolish go to sea without checking the climate in advance and acting sensibly.
Wind speeds are commonly mentioned as becoming into the bands of the Beaufort Scale a universally known and often used warning. The Beaufort Scale begins at zero which is calm, then the scale rises numerically through to 6 – strong breeze at which point the Gale Pennant is flown to signify a danger to safety. Beyond 6 and up to 12 the Beaufort Scale shows increasing risk and 10 through 12 is indicated by Storm Warning Pennants – a red flag with a black square at the centre, 12 is hurricane/typhoon strength. In quick Gale force 6 and above, head for port on the shortest possible heading.
Charter organizations, fishing and sailing agencies and those working yacht and boat businesses should apprehend that any wind speeds of 5 or 6 will put their boats at chance and of course that means the passengers too!
From the boater point of view, a good deal relies upon the knowledge and experience of the skipper, commercial boats and their crews will commonly take a pragmatic view of the weather understanding that heavy weather can cause loss of life. Seasoned skippers will know how to judge the situation and will check with the Coast Guard services or Harbour Master, there may be one locally, to to check the diploma of risk and any ban on sailing. And, look out for Gale Pennants they’re no longer for decoration!
However, not every sailor is so skilled and there are many who simply flow out of an inlet to fish or sail a little without the level of knowledge or training to recognize better. Across the world the seas can cross from placid and welcoming, warm enough for one to fall asleep maybe, and in a very short time heavy weather, rain squalls, and crashing waves can occur catching the unwary out. More than some such events have ended up costing lives. Please, remember if you put your self and your boat at threat someone will have to put their lives at risk to save you.
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