Some of the most challenging conditions you may encounter while handling a boat are the adverse conditions of heavy weather. The size of your boat does not have much to do with its seaworthiness. How it will handle adverse weather conditions is more or less built in during the design and construction. You should never use your boat for anything other than what it was designed: for example, trying to use a sailing boat as a speed boat will never have a good outcome! Don’t venture into waters or weather conditions which are beyond your boat’s capabilities.
Companies such as www.brownellsystems.com are used to handling heavy vessels and will advise you on the right conditions your boats can handle. What may seem heavy weather to an inexperienced boater may not bother a seasoned and weather wise boater at all. The body of water on which you operate does actually have a lot to do with how severe the conditions may get. While operating on deep and large bodies of water, wave action tends to build more slowly than on large waters that are much shallower. In deep waters, wind action may only cause moderate seas with slow, rolling swells, while in shallower waters that same wind force may make steep and breaking seas.
Handling your boat in heavy weather is as individual as the boater themselves. No two boats react exactly the same in the same sea conditions. Each hull design reacts differently to the sea variables and even two boats with the same design may act differently depending on their load and trim. Every boater must learn the tricks of their own boat and know how it will respond as conditions change. Companies such as www.brownellsystems.com have to handle large vessels on very heavy conditions and they are adept at transporting the loads they have. In moderate seas you should be able to slow your speed in order to ride up and over the waves rather than driving the bow into them. You also don’t want to get to the top of the wave and fall off the back side burying the bow! If conditions get worse, slow down until you are making bare steerage way and hold your boat at an angle to the swells. The more you reduce speed, the less strain will be put on the hull and structure of the boat. If you continue in hard conditions with an unprepared vessel, the continued pounding can pop out or break ports and windows. You really don’t want to see how much water can pour into a 12” port hole!
Ultimately, your best bet is always to avoid severe weather, but if you can’t you should make sure you are as prepared as possible and attending classes for heavy weather handling techniques will help. Other ways to prepare are to watch videos and read books to get ready for such conditions. You don’t have to be caught short if you are well prepared.