Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sailing in Fog

This is what we woke up to this morning - fog hanging over the marina. Since I am a conservative sailor (translation: a total wimp), my approach to sailing in fog would be to not sail in fog. But since I can't control the weather, it's important to know a few things about navigating through pea soup.
  • Reduce your speed. This seems obvious, but if you can't see where you're going, don't haul butt. The slower your speed, the easier it will be to adjust course if you spot an obstacle.
  • Make noise. And that doesn't mean just cranking up the ACDC. If your boat is longer than 39 ft. and you are under sail, you are required to give out one long blast followed by two short blasts every couple of minutes. If you're under power, it's just one long blast. Smaller boats also should make some type of noise every two minutes but are not required to follow a set honking structure. 
  • Use those electronic devices. Though they can't tell you everything and occasionally break, devices such as radar and GPS units come in very handy when sailing through fog. The GPS lets you know where you are even when you can't see your hand in front of your face, and the radar alerts you to possible obstacles. Admittedly, electronics are not essential and are certainly no substitute to the human brain, but they can be a helpful tool, especially in situations where you can't rely on one or more of your senses.
Here's an article on Sailnet, that gives more information on sailing in fog. And here's another photo that I've titled "Rollercoaster in the Mist." 


  1. I've only been to Kemah a couple times and haven't seen fog there. It doesn't look too inviting. Someday, I'm hoping to get a good boat and moving to the Kemah area. I recently found your blog and already enjoy reading your stories. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I had never seen fog here before either, granted we've only been in the area six months. But, man, it was intense! You couldn't see anything through all the mist, and two tanker ships actually ran into each other in the ship channel, which is pretty terrifying.

    Thanks for reading!