When you’re out on the boat thinking about your next big fish or the beautiful bay you’re going to anchor in, it’s easy to forget about the weather. Unfortunately if you’re not careful high swells and strong winds can cause serious trouble out on the water.

To help you stay safe out there, we’ve put together a quick guide to checking and monitoring marine weather for boaters.

DOWNLOAD THE COASTGUARD APP

Before you go out next, jump on Google Play or the App Store and download the Coastguard App. This little tool lets you log a trip so that everyone knows where you are if something goes wrong, as well as allowing you to save the GPS locations of your favourite spots on your phone.

It also gives you access to accurate marine forecasting and up to the minute ‘nowcasting’, which you should always check before heading out (and check each day if you’re overnighting).

CHECK OUT SWELL MAP

Go to www.swellmap.com/boating to check the height of the swell, wind speed and chop in specific locations around New Zealand before you take your boat out.

This handy website always has up to date forecasts and should be an essential part of your marine weather checks before any trip.

CHAT TO THE LOCALS

Forecasts are useful but there’s no replacement for first-hand knowledge, so if you’re boating in an area you’re unfamiliar take a moment to chat to the locals.

They may let you know what to watch out for, where you can shelter if the wind gets up and they may even clue you in on a secret fishing spot or two.

GET FORECASTS WHILE YOU’RE OUT

Weather can turn quickly so if you’re out overnight make sure you check the forecast at least once a day.

If you’re too far out to check over the internet, tune into the MNZ Maritime Radio Service on channel 16 which provides forecasts at 0133, 0533, 0733, 1333, 1733 and 2133 (NZ 24 hour time).

IF IN DOUBT, DON’T GO OUT

If you’re ever in doubt when checking marine forecasts, don’t risk it – be safe and put your trip off till a later date when the weather has calmed down.

What sites and apps do you use for checking the weather before you head out? Let us know in the comments or get in touch soon to talk boating.

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