Subscribe • Archive • Contact us • Not a member? Learn more.
VOL. 13 NO. 3
Take a class

Weather smarts

Advisories keep you safe on the water

Weather smarts

The National Weather Service issues weather warnings and advisories to alert mariners of hazardous conditions that could ruin their day on the water. Here’s a few advisories you should be aware of to keep you safe on your next outing.  

Small craft advisory
A small craft advisory is issued when winds have reached or are expected to reach a sustained speed of 18 to 33 knots when conditions might be hazardous to small boats.

In short: If you see a red pennant when you’re out on the water, it’s time to head for shore.

Dense fog advisory
A dense fog advisory is issued when widespread fog is expected to reduce visibility to 1/4 mile or less over a large area for an extended period of time (more than three hours).

Wind advisory
A wind advisory is given when sustained winds of 31 to 39 miles per hour or gusts of 46 to 57 miles per hour are expected for three hours or longer.

Gale warning
A gale warning happens when winds within 34 and 47 knots are expected within 24 hours or frequent gusts between 35 knots and 49 knots are expected. Gale warnings may precede or accompany a hurricane watch.

Storm warning
A storm warning is issued when winds between 48 to 68 knots are expected within 24 hours.

Hurricane warning
A hurricane warning indicates that winds of 64 knots and higher or a combination of dangerously high water and rough seas are expected to impact a specified coastal area. When a hurricane warning is announced, hurricane conditions are considered imminent and may begin immediately or within the next 12 to 24 hours. When a warning is announced, it’s of utmost importance that precautionary measures are taken for protection of life and property.

Discover how to forecast the weather and interpret the results in our two-hour online Weather for Boaters seminar.
Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Email us! Compass America's Boating Club