Centre for Maritime Safety


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Always check the weather while boating.

Weather conditions are a significant contributing factor in fatal and serious injuries on NSW waterways and are identified as a priority issue in the Maritime Safety Plan.

Follow the rules for safe and responsible boating on NSW waterways with the Boating Handbook.

Weather can change very quickly, especially out at sea. It’s not enough to check the weather once before you go out. You must check the weather regularly while boating so you can change your course or return to shore safely if any sudden changes occur.

Weather information is available anytime on marine VHF radio, the internet and smart phones. There are a range of websites and apps you can access to receive accurate weather updates while boating. Apps like Deckee and Boatable provide weather updates and alerts to your phone before and during your trip, as well as the Bureau of Meteorology website.

It is important for skippers to check the weather and plan their trip. It is also important for operators of open runabouts or dinghies as well as paddlers (especially those on kayaks and stand up paddle boards) to be aware of the weather conditions as small craft can be dangerously impacted by severe weather.

Tips to stay safe:

  • Always monitor the weather before you head out as well as during your day on the water
  • Be aware of the sources of weather information, and learn the visual signs of approaching bad weather
  • If the weather looks likely to change or the water looks rough, postpone your trip or pick a more sheltered site
  • If you see a change in the sky, don’t hang around – weather systems can be deceptive and can appear to move slowly in the distance but then can suddenly hit
  • Weather can change quickly. Visit bom.gov.au for regular weather updates
  • Be extra cautious when boating offshore, or when operating on alpine waters.