In Australia we are lucky to be able to boat year-round. The winter months offer some of the best opportunities for getting on the water, as the weather can be calmer and more predictable. So, you don’t need to keep your boat in storage or, hold off getting a boat licence until summer.
Two great reasons for winter boating:
- Fewer boats on the water
Many people park up their boats over winter, bringing them out again when the weather warms up. This means there are fewer people out boating, less water traffic to contend with and less competition at your favourite fishing spot or anchorage.
- Sea-life spotting
Winter is a great time for sea-life spotting – little penguins, dolphins, hump back whales, seals and albatross. Australia is one of the best places in the world to see whales. Each year between April and November, the eastern coastline from NSW to Queensland comes alive with the acrobatic displays of humpback whales as they migrate North from their Southern Ocean feeding grounds to warmer waters to mate and calve.
If you choose to embrace winter boating it’s important to remember the cooler conditions will mean you may have even less time if something goes wrong.
Here are some precautions you should take:
- Take your boat in for a service to make sure the motor is functioning well. In cold weather, engine fluids can thicken.
- Check over your safety equipment making sure it is all present, relevant to the boating area and in good working order. Ensure you have suitable life jackets for everyone aboard.
- Check the Bureau of Meteorology website before heading out – it’s a reliable source of information on weather in Australia.
- Make the most of rivers, lakes and sheltered bays where conditions will be smoother.
- Dress to keep warm – beanie, finger gloves, warm jacket and carry an extra change of clothes in case you get wet. Have a thermos of hot tea or soup on hand for warming you up.
- Have an emergency plan ready to implement just in case in case it’s needed.