Begin your boating trip by checking the weather
The weather defines what kind of a passage you’ll have on your boat. Checking forecasts from various websites is a good start to planning a passage.
Some recommended sites include passageweather.com, predictwind.com, Marine Weather by AccuWeather (a free iPhone/iPad and Android app) and NOAA Buoy (another free iPhone and Android app). NOAA weather on the VHF radio is also helpful. Write down what you hear to compare the information with other sites you see. Check current and predicted winds, including wind direction, sea state and wave direction, and any highs or lows forming.
Don’t adhere to a strict schedule. Try to be flexible, and make decisions based on the information at hand. Have a plan, and let the crew know what needs to be done if the weather deteriorates. Make sure the boat is storm ready, even if the weather is calm. Secure anything that could become a projectile, as conditions can change in a hurry.
File a float plan with a shore-based person who understands that your plans may change and delays can happen once you’re on the water.