Georgia Boater Education Course


CHAPTER 3: Trip Planning and Preparation


If you're out on the water and a storm is heading your way, you should prepare yourself, your passengers and your boat by taking the following steps:

  • Make sure that everyone on board is wearing a lifejacket and that it is secured properly.
  • Reduce your speed and continue with caution, keeping an eye out for other boats and floating debris.
  • Close all hatches and ports to avoid swamping.
  • For stability and safety, get your passengers to stay low in the boat near the centerline.
  • Secure any loose items to avoid losing them overboard.
  • Pump out the bilges so that your boat sits higher in the water.
  • Check marine charts to find the nearest shelter, noting any hazards in the area;
  • And proceed cautiously to the nearest safe shoreline.

If a storm has already hit, here are some additional tips to ensure the safety of everyone on board:

  • If there is lightning, unplug all electrical equipment. Stay low in the boat and away from metal objects.
  • Head the bow of the boat into waves at a 45-degree angle. This will keep the boat in the most stable position.
  • If your engine stops, drop an anchor from the bow to combat drifting and swamping. Never drop anchor from the stern.

Take waves at a 45 degree angle

Remember, whenever you are boating in stormy weather, your first step is to make sure that all persons on board are wearing United States Coast Guard-approved personal flotation devices.