Whether you’re a novice boater or an experienced mariner, safety should always be your first priority. Here are some tips to help keep you safe and ensure that your boating adventure on Cape Cod Bay is enjoyable from start to finish.
Pay attention to the weather:
They say in Massachusetts, if you don’t like the weather just wait a minute. Squalls can appear out of nowhere turning a languid summer day into a dark and roiling storm in what seems like only minutes. Keep your smart phone or weather radio handy and start heading in if the sky becomes threatening.
Where did the water go?
The tide in Cape Cod Bay rises and falls by approximately 9 feet every 6 hours. While heading out at high tide may be a breeze, finding enough water to make it home could be a challenge. On a related note, beware of anchoring your boat on a falling tide and walking away for a picnic or beach romp. Leave plenty of depth beneath your boat, or you may return to find the boat aground and yourself beached till the tide rolls back in to float you free.
Snacks and water, just in case:
Bring along some packaged snacks and beverages. A few hours of sunshine and fresh air can make your awfully hungry and thirsty, so be prepared. And if you do encounter a problem that delays your return, you’ll have sustenance enough to tide you over till help arrives.
Red Right Return:
The cardinal rule of navigation. When returning to the harbor, be sure to keep the red buoys on your right (and the green on your left).
Stay in touch:
Don’t leave shore without your cell phone. Someone may need to reach you or you may need to contact the marina in case there is a problem. Additionally, it is a good idea to tell someone where you are going, whom you are with, and when you plan to return.
It seems obvious but…
Don’t throw in the anchor unless you know it’s tied to the boat. Anchor from the bow of the boat, not the stern and use an anchor length that is at least five times longer than the depth of the water.
Knot a problem now:
Check out www.animatedknots.com for step-by-step visual instructions on tying everything from a Bowline to a Rolling Hitch.
Dress in layers:
While it may seem hot enough for beachwear when you set off, if clouds roll in you may wish you had something warmer to cover up with. And consider raingear just in case.