Only the very foolish visit to sea without checking the weather beforehand and acting sensibly.
Wind speeds are generally acknowledged as fitting into the bands of the Beaufort Scale a universally known and regularly used warning. The Beaufort Scale begins at zero which is calm, then the dimensions rises numerically via to 6 – strong breeze at which factor the Gale Pennant is flown to signify a danger to safety. Beyond 6 and up to 12 the Beaufort Scale indicates 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 pressure 6 and above, head for port on the shortest feasible heading.
Charter organizations, fishing and sailing businesses and those working yacht and boat businesses should understand that any wind speeds of 5 or 6 will placed their boats at chance and of course that means the passengers too!
From the boater point of view, a good deal depends on the knowledge and experience of the skipper, commercial boats and their crews will usually take a pragmatic view of the weather knowing 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 degree 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 experienced and there are many who just drift out of an inlet to fish or sail a little without the level of knowledge or schooling to recognize better. Across the arena the seas can cross from placid and welcoming, warm enough for one to maybe, and in a totally quick time heavy weather, rain squalls, and crashing waves can occur catching the unwary out. More than a few such occasions have ended up costing lives. Please, don’t forget 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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