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“Winter layup” may be two of the most dreaded words in the boating lexicon. But the good news is there are still a lot of fair-weather days left to enjoy before you put your boat up on blocks for the season. And if you happen to live in a place where you can boat year round, you’ll still find this article helpful for keeping comfortable during the cooler months.

Boating in the fall can be a delight for many reasons, not the least of which is the dwindling number of other people. Boat ramps, fishing holes and scenic spots are all less crowded; the temperatures are milder and you may even be treated to off-season discounts at marinas, resorts and elsewhere.

Whether you’re going on your annual fall-foliage cruise or just heading out for a day of late-season lounging, here are some tips:

    Milder temperatures mean it’s time to layer up. Try adding some outerwear on top of your regular boating apparel. You can always subtract layers once you’re out on the water.
    Don’t forget to bring your insulated water wear. If you plan on swimming, wakeboarding or snorkeling, a wetsuit rated for the water temperatures in your area will provide comfort and protection.
    Break out the canvas. Remember that camper enclosure shoved deep in your cockpit storage locker? Now is the time to use it to keep warm. If you don’t have canvas enclosures, talk to your manufacturer or an aftermarket supplier to get some.
    Keep an eye on your depth finder. Many waterways drop to their lowest depths of the year in the fall and winter. Watch your depth and look out for obstacles or obstructions that might not have been a threat when the water levels were higher.
    Make sure you communicate. Because there are fewer people on the water, there are fewer people to help should something go wrong, and many law enforcement and safety agencies cut back their water patrols at this time of year. Double-check that your VHF radio and cell phone are with you and working before you head out. It’s also important to file a float plan with someone you trust who knows where you are going and when you are due back.

United Marine Underwriters is more than just boat insurance. Browse our Boats For Sale at BoatBrowser or our Lake Resource Guide at LakeBrowser or share your fishing stories and photos at True Fish Tales – the ones that did not get away.

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One Response to Fabulous Fall Cruising

  1. nxtboat says:

    How I wish it was still Fall. Winter cruising is a little less enjoyable.

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