Keep a weather eye with these 5 tips
by Craig Lamb
Keeping an ear tuned to the latest National Weather Service marine forecast is a given for coastal boaters. Of course, a VHF transceiver or NOAA weather radio aboard your boat provides instant access to current conditions, short term and long-range forecasts.
Carolina Skiff owners fall into the category of avid coastal boaters. They choose Carolina Skiff as their boat of choice for the brand’s reputation for making a reliable, durable and functional line of boats for 30 years and counting.
The Sea Chaser HFC Series is a top choice for enjoying a day on the water under a variety of weather. The HFC appropriately Hybrid Fish Cruise. The HFC Series comes with enhanced features that add to the standard creature comforts you expect on larger center console boats.
By design you get a great mix of fishing and cruising features by design. The HFC series delivers both with features that make it suitable for families and hard-core anglers.
The HFC series models include the 20 HFC, 22 HFC and 24 HFC. Those come in lengths of 19’ 9”, 21’ 9” and 23’ 9”.
For cruising the family will enjoy the cushioned bench with backrest that runs almost the entire length of the transom. Removable 100-quart cooler. The HFC has a live well and a large hatch gives access to batteries, bilge and other operating systems.
LED-lit cup holders, eight in all, add to the creature comforts. Beneath the gunwale more LED lighting illuminates the space for style and safety. A stainless steel anchor chock, windless ready anchor floor storage and built-in lifting eye add to the functional features.
Add the insulated and lockable fish box, LED lighting in all storage compartments, a 25-gallon bait well with max air recirculating system that keeps bait fresh and lively all day long. Those standard features and more add to the fishability of the HFC Series.
Old salts and skilled skippers keep a watchful eye on what’s going on around them in the immediate area when at sea. They know the forecast is computer-model generated. Mother Nature can change the weather before the computers catch up.
Keeping an ear on the weather radio is a given. Keeping an eye on the skies is another. Do that by following these five proven weather watching tips.
1—Painting the big picture
Cirrus clouds are the high, thin shapes that are signs of fair or changing weather. Cirrus clouds are high enough in the atmosphere that their appearance provides a forecast of what’s ahead. Small, stationary clouds mean great boating and relatively calm conditions. When the high clouds grow in size and show movement then change is coming. Be watchful for storms!
Being at sea provides a wide view of cloudbanks and approaching storms. They might be majestic and pleasing to the eye but the edges of storms, or those hammerhead clouds towering the atmosphere can be bad news. Before you head back in keep an eye on direction of travel. Remember that storms can build and move slow or fast. Larger summertime storms tend to travel in circular motions.
3—Which way the wind blows
A sudden change in wind direction means change is imminent. The old fisherman’s saying “wind from the east, fishing least” can also signal an approaching front. Prevailing winds in the Northern Hemisphere go from west to east. That means a persistent wind blowing north or south likely is tied to a strong weather system. Storms bring clouds, so watching which way those are blowing can signal you to incoming weather.
On land your nose can tell your brain that rain is near. That is because the humid air is heavier and that triggers your sense of smell. Rain is usually very close so consider this tip a sign that it’s time to break out the raingear.
Coastal bird species taking flight over open water are fun to watch. The birds are equipped with keener senses that humans that are great weather indicators. Offshore if you see lots of gulls, sea ducks, cormorants or other shore birds the weather will be calm. In foul weather those birds know to stay ashore and seek shelter. So if the normally bird-friendly skies are vacant then think about joining the flocks back at the harbor.
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