BlogOctober 2023

Three Fall Boating Safety Tips

Three Fall Boating Safety Tips

By Andy Whitcomb

Oct 12, 2023

Fall boating can mean beautiful, less crowded scenery and fantastic fishing. However, with cooler temperatures, precautions should be taken. Here are three fall boating safety tips.

Fall is eagerly anticipated for several reasons, primarily the break in the heat. The shorter days and cooler temperatures trigger leaves turning colors and fishing transitions, which can contribute to great boating. However, with such a dramatic seasonal change, this is a good time to review boating safety tips for cooler weather. Here are three fall boating safety tips.


For boating safety in autumn, it is a good idea to check the forecast before heading out. Systems are known to arrive rapidly, often bringing larger obnoxious waves. With a little planning and a watchful eye, one can take fall boating precautions and donning clothes back on in the evenings if I should happen to be lucky enough to be out all day. In fall, it always seems colder on avoid the accident potential from rushing to beat wind, waves, and rain to load the boat.


While watching the weather, another one of the safe boating practices in the fall is to plan for a wide range of temperatures. Mornings can be chilly, but then many fall days, I find myself shedding layers as the day progresses, then the water and a light rain jacket becomes part of my fishing and boating attire. Additionally, I keep a change of shoes and socks in the truck for the return trip.

Life jackets

The most important fall boating safety equipment (or any season really) is a life jacket. With falling temperatures, hypothermia becomes a concern. Cold water complicates and slows muscle control, making swimming more difficult. For boating safety in autumn, Pennsylvania even has a law that if your boat is less than 16 feet, a life jacket must be worn November 1 through April 30. Laws vary by state so be sure to check the requirements in your state. Even if not a law, if you forgot the life jacket turn around and go get it.


One of the things I enjoy about fall is that there is less boat traffic and fishing pressure. It is nice to have the lake to yourself but then again, with regard to fall boating safety tips, it can be more difficult to flag down someone for a tow if mechanical issues arise. In addition, it is a good idea to let someone know your float plan, even if only on the dash of the truck and review your fall boating safety checklist (lights, signal flares, etc.) And finally, in fall use a little more caution and try keep fall from becoming a verb.

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.