‘Batton down the hatches’: Grand Strand experts provide insight on boat safety during inclement weather

Published: May. 25, 2023 at 6:26 PM EDT|Updated: May. 25, 2023 at 6:42 PM EDT
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NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - With the anticipation of rain and storms this weekend, boating could become increasingly dangerous.

According to WMBF Chief Meteorologist Jamie Arnold, the storm system could arrive as early as Friday afternoon.

“Especially from late Friday, Friday night, and really most of the day Saturday. Low pressure offshore means a lot of wind and a lot of big waves,” said Arnold.

He went on to say that areas near the shoreline could see 45-50 miles per hour wind gusts, which have the potential to bring waves nearly ten feet tall. Just offshore, however, Arnold said, “winds could be over 50 miles per hour and I think what’s really impressive, we could be talking about wave heights out there over the gulf stream at over 20 feet.”

Karen Berry, Vice President of Operations at Freedom Boat Club said, if you’re on the water in these conditions, it’s important to make sure you’re wearing a life jacket.

According to Berry, if a boat comes in contact with such strong winds, there’s a chance it could capsize. She also said with so much rain in the forecast, the boat could take on too much water.

If you’re out on the water and see a storm approaching, Berry said it is time to make some decisions.

“You’ve got to make a choice. You’re either going to ride it out or you’re going to wait it out,” said Berry.

If you decide to ride it out, Berry had this advice: “Batton down the hatches so to speak. Close all the windows, close all the doors, and stay close to the floor.”

She also said it’s important to remain calm during a storm.

But it’s not just during the storm that could cause problems. According to Arnold, boating after a storm could still present some risks.

“Those offshore waters though, still probably going to stay a bit rough, but definitely getting better,” said Arnold.