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Taming The Inlets ...

Updated: Mar 10, 2023

Inlets are Essentially On/Off Ramps that Separate ... Inland, Near Coastal, and Offshore Waters ... Depending upon weather conditions ... An Inlet Can Be as Smooth as Glass, or Too Rough to Navigate Safely ... When an experienced Skipper Enters or Exits an Inlet ... He or She Will ... assign lookouts who will monitor ... Changing Depths, Tidal Flows, Winds, Boat Traffic, and Sea Conditions ... Passage through a rough inlet is rarely predictable. This is why ... Situational Awareness is of Paramount Importance ... and it is ... The Key to Safety ... Situational awareness becomes critical the moment you leave the dock and ... Head Out to Enter or Exit an Inlet ... It’s rarely easy to predict the sea state near an inlet ... If you are a mile out to sea, conditions can be flat, calm, or uunavicab ... However ... At the Inlet Entrance, Substantial Waves and Deep Troughs can Suddenly Develop ... A good strategy is to approach the inlet from the sea, rather than by running parallel to the shore and making a sharp turn near entrance to the Inlet. As your boat approaches or exits an Inlet, the Skipper will get a better look at the conditions ahead ... A Good Boating Safety Tip Is ... Never cut corners as you enter or exit an inlet ... Red Right Return ... If you are approaching an inlet from the sea, you will encounter several red buoys that identify the entrance to the inlet ... . This will ensure that you can clearly identify the entrance ... and ... Make sure that you are aware of other boats entering or exiting the inlet ... Be Cautious ... Keep a sharp lookout for inbound, and outbound ... Paddle Craft ... Give plenty of leeway and minimize your wake if you are in near proximity to Paddle Craft Enthusiasts ... Be Aware of Changing Winds and Tides ... Inlets are impacted by the direction of these forces In rough seas ... Remind your guests to remain seated, and Grip whatever They can grab. ...Then Sit Tight ... The first two waves in a set of waves are generally the attention-getters ... But, it is the third swell that becomes ... The Eye Opener ... This story is different if you are inbound with a following sea ... Don’t rush ... be patient and make sure your boat’s trim tabs are up. Pause to note the cadence of the waves before you commit to entering the inlet ... You Will Quickly Learn that the Waves Will Come in Sets of Three or More Waves Four or More Waves ... Be aware of the sea conditions. Then, match your speed to the water's flow, so that you can navigate through the wave's turbulence while reach calmer water inside ... Always be Aware of Sea Conditions Astern ... If a wave from astern crashes into the boat's transom keep moving ahead ... Excellerate enough to keep your bow in the trough, and slightly on the stern of the crashing wave just off your bow. Once this breaks you can accelerate through the whitewater and into calmer sea states ... Whenever Possible ... Ride with the water and ... don’t come in hot, or too slow ... Caution ... If You attempt to outrun incoming waves ... The bow can dig in and cause the boat to broach ... Turning the Boat Sideways to the sea and Becoming Out of Your Control ... If you come in too slow,the incoming water will push the stern to the ... Port or Starboard ... The worst-case scenario is ... Pitchpoling ... This means the boat rides down the face of a steep wave that thrusts the bow into the bottom of the inlet. The following waves then push the stern head over heels which cap sizes the boat ... Every Inlet is Different ... When running through an inlet you can encounter everything from a man made rock-pile jetty, to structures dredged and maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers ... Naturally Formed Inlets ... These are maintained by local authorities who prefer dredging ... Man Made Inlets, by Their Nature, are Generally Well Defined and May or May Not Have Speed Limits or No Wake Zones ... When it comes to small fishing boats, finding a balance between those blocking the channel and those upholding their responsibility for their wake is an ongoing battle. Large commercial fishing and party boats generally operate in a safe and professional manner. However, when you get too close to a commercial fishing boat and its passengers lines you are likely to get ... A Loud Blast From The Ship's Whistle ...

If you’re going to take a chance and fish amid all the traffic on the water, you should keep the motor running and have someone at the wheel at all times ... Boating Safety Tip ... Whenever you are in your boat on the water, make certain that you have the appropriate tools and parts to repair necessary equipment if the unexpected happens. Also make sure everyone onboard has an appropriately sized PFD. Lastly, bring a handheld radio and enough food and beverages for all on-board ... Remember ... Smart Boating is Safe Boating ...

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