Skipper Tip: Boating in the Fog

by Franklin Marine on July 8, 2017

in Featured, Franklin, Huon River, Huon Valley, Marine Safety, Weather

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With winter closing in on the Huon Valley, we are once again being met by chilly evenings and mornings.

Of course, no chilly evening or morning would be complete without a thick blanket of fog rolling down the river!

Fog burning off to reveal Franklin Marina#franklinmarina #hobartandbeyond #franklinmarine #huonriver #cartella

A post shared by Franklin Marine (@franklinmarineau) on

This makes for a good photo (if you can brave the cold!) – but what if you get caught out in your boat as it rolls through (and subsequently impairs your vision)?

Boating in the fog (or in any conditions that impair your vision) can be dangerous – but here are a few pointers to keeping safe on a cold morning or evening on the water:

  1. Anticipate if it will be foggy.
    • The BOM (Bureau of Meterology) publishes weather forecasts on their website. Keep an eye on your local forecast – the page usually explicitly states “morning fog & frost” on the right hand column. Click here to see the BOM website.
  2. Know your position.
  3. Use your senses.
    • No noise distractions – ask your crew to be quiet & TURN OFF THE STEREO.
    • Turn off the cabin lights – let your eyes adjust.
    • Use head torches with a red light option.
    • Get out of the cabin and listen to the shore.
  4. Fog horns!
    • Fog horns are great if you are in an area with traffic.
    • There are international sound signals – see the picture on the right.
  5. Light up the stage!
    • Keep your navigation lights on at all times – even during the day.
  6. Screens
    • A good plotter will help if the charts are up to date and accurate (see why we recommend Navionics Platinum Plus here).
    • Radar is obviously great if you’re lucky enough to have it.
    • Don’t get caught up in the screens! Use them to supplement your navigational skills – not as a replacement for them.

GO SLOW AND KEEP A VERY SHARP LOOK OUT.

DO NOT LOCK YOURSELF IN THE CABIN WITH THE LIGHTS ON.

GET OUTSIDE AND USE YOUR SENSES.

So that’s it – be careful and you will ghost out of the fog.
Did these tips help you? Please let us know in the comments – and please do share any of your tips for boating in the fog. We would love to hear them!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Penny Morton August 5, 2017 at 2:58 pm

Hi Laurence,
Love the updated website! As for fog tips, here’s one for you:
One thing we learnt while building “An Old Captivity” 20 years ago was that if you have a timber boat, putting crumpled Al-foil in your hollow mast will make your vessel shine like a beacon on other vessels’ radar screens, at sea or in fog. Why not? So we did.
Post launch, during a weekend in company with other boats on Brisbane’s Moreton Bay, we had a chance to test the theory. After dinner and ‘nice red’ (or three), our friends, anxious to check out their new radar, pre-circumnavigation, suggested we give it a go. IT WORKED! Next morning they said yes, their radar had worked well, but they were absolutely blown away…our mast stuck out like a sore thumb from all other boats anchored in the cove! Theory confirmed.
Maybe other ‘boaties’ in the Huon would be interested. Fair winds, Penny

Reply

Franklin Marine August 16, 2017 at 5:02 pm

Hi Penny,
Thanks for your comment!
That’s a really great idea – and even better considering it works!
We’ll be sure to share this tip with other boaties in store, and might even cover this on the knowledgebase in the future!
Thanks again for sharing!

Kind regards,
Kobi

Reply

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