The Effects of Current While Boating
It’s easy to lose track of currents while you’re fishing, swimming, or just having fun on your boat with your friends and family – but watching the current is a very important part of boating, for multiple different reasons.
First, let’s better understand what a current is. Most boaters already understand currents, but it’s good to refresh your memory every once and awhile. Currents are the horizontal flow of water in a downstream direction. Ocean, lake and river currents respond to the push of prevailing winds. Ocean currents are also affected by variations in water density, resulting from the different levels of salinity and temperatures. Currents that are intermittent and respond to the movement of the sun and moon are called ‘tidal currents’. Tidal currents are the actual rise and fall in the water level as they force mass amounts of water alternately against and away from shore. How’s that for a brief science lesson?
Now that you’re up to speed, let’s talk about the safety aspect of paying attention to the water’s currents. Currents are much stronger during high and low tide, which means they can easily pull a swimmer away from the boat, or even under water, with little to no warning. Always make sure you keep track of the high and low tides for this very reason. Don’t allow your passengers off of your boat and into the water unless you know for sure that you’ve been following the current and can observe when the tides are high or low.
Let’s face it, you’re eventually going to face some sort of trial when it comes to your boat, but the one thing most boater’s fear the most is running aground. Observing the current and maneuvering accordingly can help you prevent your boat from doing just that. Should you lose an engine, a strong current can cause your boat to run aground, leaving you in a desperate and possibly life threatening situation. Keeping track of the current is a definite safety precaution that all boaters need to take.
Currents aren’t always a bad thing. In fact, they can help you conserve fuel, whether you’re running low or just trying to save some extra bucks. Running with the current will help you conserve fuel. There’s nothing better than saving a little money while doing the thing you love the most!
Current can have a major impact on your boating adventure (be it good or bad), so make sure you watch tide charts or listen to the reports in your area before you head onto the water. Always be safe, especially when you’re in doubt. It’s better to be safe than sorry. And it’s especially nice if you can take advantage of nature’s currents and help yourself out in the process!