Autumn is just a great time to get out on your boat. The weather is usually a bit cooler while the warm water lingers until the first frosts begin. The light is golden and then, suddenly, so are the trees and foliage ashore. 

So whether you want to get in those last fishing runs, tow the kids around on the tubes or skis, or just feel that wonderful fall air in your hair before the snow begins to fall, the lazy autumn afternoons are just perfect!

But there are a few things to think about now that the seasons have changed. Forewarned is forearmed.

Layer Up.  During the long hot summer, you can jump on the boat in T-shirt, shorts and flip-flops and know you’ll be okay, even when the sun goes down. But now that it’s autumn, there’s a tinge in the air and when the sun begins to set, the temperature can quickly drop. Bring along plenty of layers: sweatshirts, sweaters, windbreakers, long pants, maybe even socks!  If it starts to get chilly, you’ll be glad you did.

Lighten Up.  Another thing that can sneak up on you during the autumn is the sunset…it gets several minutes earlier every week. Make sure your boats’ running lights are working, and pack an extra flashlight or two. You may never need to use them…until you do!

Radio Up.  In the summer, there’s usually plenty of other boaters around, as well as law enforcement boats patrolling your local waters. In the fall, traffic usually dies down and the state patrols are reduced. That means, if you get in trouble, you’ll need to hail for help on the radio, Make sure your VHF equipment is working well, and be sure to test it before leaving the dock. And make sure your phone is charged up before leaving, too.

Weather Up.  Any sensible captain will check the forecast before leaving port. That’s especially important in the fall, when fronts can come bursting through like a fullback hitting the line. Keep an eye peeled for changing weather and act fast if you see something coming. 

Yes, autumn is a great time to get out on the boat. Just do it safely.