The weather is cooling off, which means it’ll soon be snowing out here in the midwest. But that doesn’t mean the outdoor fun has to end. There are plenty of outdoor enthusiasts who continue boating all year round, regardless of weather or temperature. Plus, many people who work on the water can’t stop working just because the sun sets earlier. But there is gear you can use for more effective boating in the cold weather. Read through the article from Water Werks Marine Group below and then stop by our location in Country Club Hills, Illinois for any repairs or gear you may need.
If you’re taking a short trip down the river, you don’t necessarily need heavy duty clothing to protect yourself from the elements. Wear an appropriately insulated jacket, depending on how cold it is outside and favor layers over one bulky coat. This will help you cool off when you need to while still protecting you from the cold weather. Also, make sure anything you wear is waterproof, for both the spray of the water and possible precipitation. Gloves are also a good idea, especially when the temperature drops below freezing. If you’re going out for several days or if it’s going to be particularly cold and stormy, then you might consider looking into clothes that are more durable and thicker.
No matter the weather condition, snowy or dry, you’re probably going to have a wet day out on the water. If you spend a lot of time on the water, you’ll want to invest in the kind of equipment sailors on the oceans wear for the different kinds of weather. Consider getting equipment made from PVC material that’s been heat-welded at the seams. This gives water no room to enter and soak you to the core. Keep in mind, it will restrict your movement a bit, so it could take some getting used to.
You can also find gear that comes with tight seals around the openings. Again, this is favored by sailors on the open sea to avoid getting water in their clothing. This equipment fits snugly around the neck and wrists to prevent leakage. This also employs the layer theory, as this gear often comes in multiple layers. But this kind of gear is really only recommended to people who will use it often as it can be fairly expensive.
There are still those who spend weeks or months out on the water, or go out on the water when the weather gets particularly fierce. This will require heavier duty equipment to keep you warm and protected. Look into offshore equipment built for long-term use that can be washed and reused. It needs to be waterproof and insulated, even if you’re wearing lots of layers. This kind of equipment is often also built to withstand salt water, so if you ever find yourself in the ocean, you’ll be well prepared.
The Great Lakes normally don’t get so cold that they freeze over completely, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find ice floating in the water. If you find yourself in an area that shows signs of icy blocks, avoid crashing into them at high speeds. Just slow down and gently maneuver around the sheets you can spot. They probably won’t slice through your hull like it’s the Titanic, but they could still scratch the surface and cause an annoying inconvenience.
The real trouble is if you fall into icy waters. This is a serious situation as, depending on the temperature of the water, it could take minutes for hypothermia to sink in. Make sure you have flotation and rescue devices on board for other passengers to throw to you. If you require rescuing, have some way to be spotted, whether that’s a flare, a whistle, or some version of a locator beacon.
Here at Water Werks Marine Group, we don’t want the cold temperatures to deter the diehard boaters. For any gear advice or other boating needs, stop by our location in Country Club Hills, Illinois. We proudly serve the areas of Chicago and Waukegan, Illinois, as well as Gary, Michigan City, and Valparaiso, Indiana, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.