Do the five vital weather safety checks on Boating Vic
23 December 2019
The Boating Vic website and app displays important weather information, localised to the area you plan on launching your vessel.
You can use Boating Vic to conduct the five vital marine weather safety checks recommended by the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM).
- Are warnings current for your boating area?
- Are there weather conditions affecting safe navigation and comfort?
- What are the wind trends?
- What are the wave conditions?
- When is the next high and low tide?
Here are some tips on understanding how the weather information in Boating Vic is displayed.
BOM weather warnings are displayed at the top of every Boating Vic page in a red banner. It’s important to be aware of warnings as you will likely experience poor conditions and there may also be a requirement to be wearing your lifejacket.
Boat ramp pages also display warnings relevant to the local area.
Once you search for the boat ramp or facility you are planning on launching from you can scroll down below the ramp images to view localised weather conditions. The local forecasts give you a five-day outlook of conditions with a snapshot of wind. The coastal forecasts give you a three-day outlook of conditions for the broader wider area. Keep an eye out for mention of approaching changes to the weather, such as thunderstorms or reduced visibility.
By looking at the wind-over-time graph, you can see forecast wind directions and speed as well as look back to the actual conditions recorded. This is helpful to know any likely increases in wind speed or changes in wind direction; make sure you adjust your plans to suit the changing wind conditions.
You are also able to change the graph to temperatures to see if any sudden changes have been forecast, which may mean a front is coming. Don't forget that that wind gusts can be 40 per cent stronger than the forecast wind speeds!
The local wind conditions are important to understand as they will impact your day on the water. Your local area may be impacted differently to forecasts that cover the broader coastal area.
Keep scrolling down the page and you will get some information relating to seas and swell depending which ramp location you are viewing. Be cautious with these forecasts as they are an average wave height. Sea waves can be twice the size of forecast height.
Further down the page you will see the daylight summary and tide times – the daylight information is helpful for knowing when you might need to have your navigation lights on plus a lifejacket as it is required at night. Tides are very important to know if you are operating in a shallow area, under bridges or attempting to cross a bar. Know how the tides will impact your boating activity and make sure you have a plan on how to get back to your launching place or safe harbour.
We are also integrating BOM data so inland waterway levels will be displayed.
Deciding whether to head out
Make sure you know what you and your vessel can handle when you are checking the weather. Bear in mind that heading into wind and seas will increase your fuel consumption. If you are trying to anchor in heavy seas you will need to let more line out to try and ensure your anchor holds tight and operating with the wind side on will likely blow you off course.
Learn how to understand the weather and forecasts, and what weather conditions are appropriate for your activity. Check Boating Vic before your next trip.