Handling Limited Visibility
By Mike Gridley and Amanda Comission
The onset of fall signals the end of the summer boating season. Warm August days and cool nights usher in September’s ever-shortening days. Fall boating may not be for everyone – the kids are back at school and there is a definite bite to the air – but September and even October can offer some wonderful cruising. Not only are the waterways and anchorages much quieter, but boating at this time of year provides the opportunity to witness Canada’s beautiful landscape as it changes from the lush green of summer to the rust-coloured hues of autumn.
Fall boating may pose a few specific challenges. Shorter days means you could find yourself out in the dark and temperature differentials could lead to heavy fog or mist. Although these conditions can deter you from untying the lines, it should not. It simply means knowing what to do to navigate safely.
If you’re operating in circumstances of limited visibility, there are some things you can and should do besides putting your blind faith in your GPS and/or radar. First and foremost, decreased visibility should automatically translate to decreased speed. Being able to stop in half the distance of visibility is a good rule of thumb. Determine how far and how much you can see and adjust accordingly.