BlogMay 2021

4 Components of a Boating Forecast

4 Components of a Boating Forecast

By Andy Whitcomb

May 10, 2021

Watch the weather to make sure you have a fun, safe boating experience. Here’s all you need to know when researching your boating weather forecast.

Ideally, it would be great to be able to take the boat out every day. But, for safety and the comfort of your passengers, it is a good idea to monitor the boating forecast or boating weather forecast to be more specific. Pay attention to low pressure systems (storms) and high pressure systems (blue skies) and how they affect conditions on the water. Sometimes boating weather simply doesn’t align with the weekend on the calendar.


The first question on most everyone’s boating forecast radar, if you will, is, “will it rain?” Yes, we are on a boat and there may be some splashing, skiing, or swimming, but we want to get wet on our terms. Weigh the rain probabilities and risks according to your crew. For example, if there is some hot action catching walleye, a rain can easily be overlooked. However, if kids are on the boat, even a light sprinkle can really put a damper on the mood and you might as well head back to the ramp.


Too hot or too cold can create complications for all. I really pushed the limit last winter when I took my parents fishing in mid 30’s with a stiff, finger numbing breeze. Then again, much of this depends on the fishing. If we would have just landed one of the monster pike that taunted us, maybe we wouldn’t have felt the cold. Maybe.


Often my biggest boating nemesis, there is a wind mph figure that if it shows up in the offshore boating forecast, the trip gets rescheduled. A moderate chop on the water is fine; in fact, it frequently fires up the fish. However, if you can’t control the position of the boat or if there is enough rocking to make crew seasick, try again some other time.

Water Conditions

Even if the boating weather forecast is clear, warm, and calm, water conditions from those recent rains may still need to be considered. If the water is still high and muddy, debris of branches and logs can complicate safe boating. It may take several days for the lake or river to recover to safe conditions.

Along with keeping your boat registration up-to-date, by monitoring the weather as part of your boating basics, you can help kids enjoy their time on the water and even looking forward to the next time the boating forecast is favorable.


Andy Whitcomb
Andy Whitcomb
Andy is an outdoor writer ( and stressed-out Dad has contributed over 380 blogs to since 2011. Born in Florida, but raised on banks of Oklahoma farm ponds, he now chases pike, smallmouth bass, and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After earning a B.S. in Zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, Iowa State, and Michigan State.