Bravo Team: Winter on the Water

Chrissy McLeanAll, Bravo Team, Youth Programs

By Chrissy McLean, Bravo Team Captain

This year’s Bravo Team crew has been practicing the art of shoulder season on the water. We have been lucky in dodging the winter storms and honing our abilities to read winter weather.

Being a boater in the winter means that you need to consider additional risk factors like wind chill and cold rain and how those contribute to the risk of hypothermia. We evaluate these risks as a team as we determine if it is safe for us to head out onto the water. Modern tools like the internet help us see the weather forecast and then we compare that to what we are actually seeing- what are the trees doing, how does the rigging of other boats in the marina sound, what does wind feel like on my cheeks?

Once we have determined that it is safe to be out, we start assessing our gear and our stores. Does everyone have warm layers, gloves, a hat? Do we have safety gear like life rings, VHF radios, cell phones, and EPIRBs? Have we packed the type V exposure suits in case someone is really cold? Most importantly, do we have enough snacks?

Then we are off on a mini-adventure on Port Townsend Bay. It is a gift to be one of the few boats underway. We relish the winter sunshine, row power strokes to stay warm, and sing at the top of our lungs into the winter air.