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Ten Tips for Sailing in Low Visibility

Not many things cause as much tension underway as low visibility. You need to make sure that you are ready to deal with pea-soup fog or a blinding rain squall. Use these top ten sailing tips to gain the confidence you need to meet this challenge!

1. Stop the Boat and Plot Your Position.

Stop the boat. Record the Latitude and Longitude from your GPS along with the time in your Navigation log. Write down the sounding from your depth sounder. Plot the position onto a nautical chart. If unsure of your position, pull off the main channel (if safe to do so) and anchor. This gives you time to sort things out without the worry of collision or grounding.

2. Energize Navigation Lights.

The navigation rules require all vessels that are underway (making way through the water or drifting) to show proper lights during darkness or reduced visibility — day or night. Sailboats show red and green sidelights and a white stern light. If you have your engine on, energize your masthead light. If you anchor in a non-designated anchorage, you need to show a white all-around light forward.

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About John Jamieson

John Jamieson
Captain John Jamieson was a search and rescue skipper, ship driver, navigator, and master training specialist in the U.S. Coast Guard. He later directed the Seamanship and Chart Navigation departments for the Professional Mariner program at the Chapman School of Seamanship in Florida. He is the author of 'Seamanship Secrets' published by McGraw-Hill and has written 20 other eBooks on navigation, seamanship, and small boat handling. Visit his website at www.skippertips.com

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