Boaters’ Weather

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Snow blanketing our local mountains is unusual this time of the year, but I would have to shovel it to get in the driveway of my Lake Arrowhead cabin, as more snow is expected today, so I will stay home this weekend.

Off the mountains, our wet week will continue through Saturday and maybe into Sunday with rain on and off in Newport Harbor.  Since we have exceeded the annual rainfall average and the Sierra snowpack is high, then will our water rates decrease?

The daytime air temperatures will not reach the mid-60s with the nighttime temperatures in the 40s to low 50s.  Looks like it’ll be first of next week before the sun returns to help dry out the landscape.  However, watch out for afternoon gusty winds today and possibly into the weekend as the system blows through our area.

If you do decide to take a harbor cruise anytime soon, remember to watch out for the debris floating in the water.  I mention debris in my columns after every rain because I am still surprised that many boaters ignore the damage that can be caused to their boats.  Not only from the obvious – striking a solid object with your hull or prop – but also the damage caused to engines, HVAC systems, and heads by sucking in the small junk.

Recreational boating will be slow today and Saturday with the rain moving through the area, and the westerly ocean swells at 7 feet mid-channel today.  The seas should drop to 2 feet by Sunday and that might make Sunday a good day for boating if the skies clear a little.  As I mentioned earlier, keep an eye out for the winds, which will be gusting to 15 knots and creating 2 foot wind waves.  Looks like good sailing weather for the ragboaters, but remember to try not to break the speed limit in the harbor.

So, as always, with an eye to the north, we look to the waters off Point Conception where the seas are will be up to 14 feet today with winds in the mid-teens and gusting under 20 knots.  This is not the weekend for small craft to try and round the point.  The gusting winds will cause 2- to 3-foot wind waves on top of the large swells.  On Sunday, the winds will increase to 20 knots, while the swells will drop to 10 feet.

Boaters should use caution and remember your boating skill level if you plan to cruise in the ocean, and remember to always check the sea and weather conditions before you leave the dock.  Always give a safely briefing to your guests onboard before you leave your dock, and leave a float plan shoreside with someone who you can trust.

Safe Voyages,

Mike Whitehead, Capt.

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