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Should I go out boating today?



"See you at 6:00 a.m. at the ramp, I will bring the bait and lunch. It should be a great day - the weather man on channel 11 said two to three foot seas." was the concluding statement of two friends deciding to go on a quickly put together fishing trip. Paying no attention to the trees leaning towards the east, they met the next morning and rapidly unloaded the boat.


As they exited the inlet onto essentially flat seas, one of the men said "Wow, it is not even three feet. Man that wind sure does feel good".


As they continued to go further out towards the 28F ledge, they noticed an occasional white cap.


As they progressed further they noted they were doing a little wave jumping and they yelled with glee each time the boat when airborne.


As they got to the twenty-eight curve, they tried to carry out their plan to bottom fish but the six foot waves spaced out at 4-5 seconds from the 20 m.p.h. westerly winds, made it impossible to do.


Not prepared to troll, they limped back to shore, taking numerous waves over the bow for the next several hours and getting soaked and bemoaning the fact that the weather man was a dolt.


Nothing could be further from the truth - the boat operator was the dolt.


You should NOT let the weather man on TV be the deciding factor on the weather NOR should you use the weather radio on your VHF. More often than not they are inaccurate or incomplete.


A prudent boat operator would have turned on his computer at 0430H and gone to: http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/data/Forecasts/FZUS52.KMLB.html and view the forecast from "Flagler to Cocoa Beach" out to 20 miles and also out to sixty miles.


SAMPLE:


COASTAL WATERS FROM FLAGLER BEACH TO COCOA BEACH OUT 20 NM-

301 AM EDT SAT SEP 1 2007


TODAY

SOUTHWEST WINDS 5 TO 10 KNOTS BECOMING SOUTHEAST AROUND

5 KNOTS IN THE AFTERNOON. SEAS 1 TO 2 FEET. A LIGHT CHOP ON THE

INTRACOASTAL WATERS. NUMEROUS SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS.


TONIGHT

SOUTHEAST WINDS 5 TO 10 KNOTS SHIFTING TO THE SOUTH

AFTER MIDNIGHT. SEAS 1 TO 2 FEET. MOSTLY SMOOTH ON THE

INTRACOASTAL WATERS. SCATTERED SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS.


After viewing that site, he should then have gone go to: http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/maps/Florida.shtml and view what is happening at the 41012 and 41009 weather buoys


Station 41012 - St. Augustine, FL 40NM ENE of St Augustine, FL Image indicating link to RSS feed of recent meteorological observations for station 41012

http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/station_page.php?station=41012


Station 41009 - CANAVERAL 20 NM East of Cape Canaveral, FL Image indicating link to RSS feed of recent meteorological observations for station 41009

http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/station_page.php?station=41009


where they can learn among many other things the wind direction and speed, the wave height with and without the wind component, as well as the frequency and degree of steepness of the waves.


In the above scenario, had the operator read the report he would have noted that the St. Augustine buoy was reading 6 foot waves at a 4 second interval and were very steep. Most likely Small Craft Advisories would have been posted.


When you review these two sites one should have an idea of what is happening offshore weather-wise.


For example, a 5 foot sea is not always bad. If the frequency is every "fifteen seconds" and is rated a "SWELL" then most likely you can fish that without impunity.


Station 41010 - CANAVERAL EAST 120NM East of Cape Canaveral Image indicating link to RSS feed of recent meteorological observations for station 41010


GOOD        

Significant Wave Height (WVHT):  5.0 ft      

Swell Height (SwH):  5.0 ft      

Swell Period (SwP):  15.1 sec  Join the fun! Become a member!!  GOOD


However, a 5 foot sea every 4-5 seconds can sure make for a miserable day.


BAD        

Significant Wave Height (WVHT):  5.0 ft      

Swell Height (SwH):  5.0 ft      

Swell Period (SwP):  4.5 sec  Join the fun! Become a member!!  BAD


Wind direction does not matter except when the winds come from the WEST. One can get a false impression of what the ocean is doing because of what is termed "the land effect", which is a blockage of the wind caused by the trees and more importantly by the ever-increasing concrete wall along our beaches.


Finally, do not ask your buddy, what was the weather like the last time that he was out. Be it yesterday or a month ago, it makes no difference. Weather is a constantly changing phenomenon.


Captain Budd Neviaser




Captain Bruce Tippins added:


Any wind over 10 knots can build seas the worst winds for building seas quickly blow from from the N.E. 5-50 Degrees, The seas that generally get people in trouble are from winds with a westerly component because you get a following sea going out and by the time you realize it is getting big you are way off and have to battle a nasty head sea all the way home.


Bruce Tipping


WINDS OUT OF THE WEST WITH T-STORMS:

This happened to me…


After a nice day of fishing winds out of the west at 5, seas calm 1-2, 9 seconds the perfect day…

Now for the ride home, the sky's start getting dark, and the T-Storm are coming from the west, you can not get around them, so you have no choice but to ride straight through them to get back to port. The seas go from flat to 8-9 ft in a matter of five minutes… The rain coming down sideways, and the lighting busting loose all around you…


This is a snap shot of New Smyrna, Daytona, Cape Canaveral area…

ENTER FORUM