Only the very foolish visit to sea without checking the weather beforehand and acting sensibly.
Wind speeds are commonly mentioned as fitting into the bands of the Beaufort Scale a universally known and regularly used warning. The Beaufort Scale begins at 0 which is calm, then the dimensions rises numerically through 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 shows increasing risk and 10 through 12 is indicated by Storm Warning Pennants – a purple flag with a black square at the centre, 12 is hurricane/typhoon strength. In short Gale force 6 and above, head for port on the shortest feasible heading.
Charter businesses, fishing and sailing businesses 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 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 climate 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, where there is one locally, to to check the diploma of risk and any ban on sailing. And, look out for Gale Pennants they are not for decoration!
However, not every sailor is so skilled 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 know better. Across the arena the seas can go from placid and welcoming, warm enough for one to fall asleep maybe, and in a totally quick time heavy weather, rain squalls, and crashing waves can arise catching the unwary out. More than a few 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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