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Small Craft Advisory & Warnings

Although the fishing may be better luck on cloudy or windy days, being out in a boat in bad weather can be very risky. High winds, rough water and thunderstorms can suddenly turn a pleasant outing into a frightening experience. Here’s what you need to know if there is a small craft advisory, inclement weather watch or warning

When is a Small Craft Advisory Issued?

A Small Craft Advisory is issued by the National Weather Service as a warning when winds have reached dangerous speeds. Sustained wind speeds that govern the issuance of a Small Craft Advisory vary depending on geographical areas, but are generally between 20 and 33 knots.

Watch, Advisories and Warnings

A watch informs mariners when a significant or hazardous weather event is possible, but not imminent during the next 12 to 36 hours. An advisory indicates that a hazardous weather event is coming, imminent, but does not meet warning criteria. A warning alerts mariners that a significant or hazardous weather event is likely, imminent, or occurring, and is a threat to life and property.

Small Craft Advisory

Winds of 18 to 33 knots, or 24 to 38 miles per hour.

Gale Warning

Winds of 34 to 47 knots, or 39 to 54 miles per hour.

Storm Warning

Winds of 18 to 33 knots, or 24 to 38 miles per hour.

Tropical Storm Warning

Observed or forecast winds of 34-64 knots.

Special Marine Warning

Observed or forecast winds of 34 knots or higher, coupled with a storm to last more than two hours.

Hurricane Warning

Winds greater than 64 knots, or 74 miles per hour.

small craft advisory

When an Advisory is Issued Before You Leave the Dock

If the weather forecast is particularly unfavorable, the GBC Member Services team will reach out to you about rescheduling your hours, with no 24-hour penalty fee.

When an Advisory is Issued While You’re Underway

When you plan your boating reservation, you should know the current forecast, and have a way to receive warnings and weather advisories while underway. Making boating safety your first priority every day. Even with today’s high-tech weather forecasts and radios, there’s no substitute for the time-honored practice of scanning the horizon for changes in the wind, waves, water, and sky that signal developing weather patterns.

If you see storms building, check to see the change in forecast.

If you notice a Small Craft Advisory Warning issued while you’re underway, return back to your Club marina safely.

  1. If a storm is approaching and there is thunder and lightning in the distance, the best course of action is to get off the water.

  2. Keep a sharp lookout for other vessels, debris, shoals, or stumps.

  3. If not possible, find a protected area out of the wind and drop anchor.

  4. Remaining as low as possible in the center of the boat is advisable.

  5. Have everyone on the boat put on life jackets.

  6. Stay away from any metal, including fishing rods, which should be stowed away along with anything else that could act as an attractive conductor.

  7. Lower antennas and turn off electronics.

  8. Under no circumstances should the VHF radio be used during an electrical storm unless it’s an emergency (handhelds are OK)

Q: Who Do I Call if Assistance is Needed During a Small Craft Advisory?

A: If you need assistance or more information about weather conditions during inclement weather, please first call the Club from which you disembarked. If you need further assistance, please call the emergency phone number located on each vessel’s helm.

Q: How Will I Be Charged for a Tow?

A: Members have the benefit of receiving corporate rates from local towing companies through Gulfstream Boat Club, and any fees incurred will be invoiced to your GBC account directly.

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