Rather than making the trip after the
end of hurricane season, I’d like to cruise
down the ICW from New Jersey to
Florida in April or May. Is there a problem with this timing?
Howard & Helen Goldson
TOM NEALE It’s been our experience
that the odds are better that you’re less
likely to encounter a tropical storm if you
make the trip in very late November and
December rather than in April or May,
but the trip then can be very cold, and
bad winter storms can be terrible. We
prefer to go south in late November and
come back up in late April or early May.
But that’s never been a guarantee for us,
and we’ve had our share of terrible storms
(including tornados) in those times.
Bad storms don’t know about the calendar. We’ve experienced serious tropical
storms in May and bad storms at many
other times outside of “hurricane season.”
It doesn’t take an official hurricane to
cause serious problems.
There’s no magic time. You need to
A Good Day For Boating?
be aware of weather forecasts and plan
to lay over and hide when it looks like
something bad is on the way. Stay within
the limitations of your insurance policy. If
you head south in May, you’ll probably be
in an area during hurricane season that
may not be covered by your insurance or
will require a higher premium. Don’t take
chances, and enjoy the cruise.
I just purchased a new Yamaha 242 jet
boat and would like to use it on Long
Island Sound and Block Island Sound.
In terms of seas and wind, what condi-
tions would be considered too rough for
this boat? Gene Demotses
East Hampton, CT
JOHN ADEY In the U.S., boatbuild-
ers don’t specify what the maximum
conditions are for a particular boat.
However, the European Union follows
the standards laid out by the International
Organization for Standardization (ISO).
In these standards are “categories” of wind
and wave heights and distances offshore.
Category A designates severe offshore
conditions, and Category D designates
an inland lake.
If this boat was also made for the
European market, it might carry a different label that indicates its ISO category,
which you could use for reference. In
the U.S., we leave it up to the captain’s
judgment to decide what conditions are
safe for the particular vessel. Long Island
Sound can be flat calm with very stable
weather on some days – fine conditions
for you to take out your craft as long as
you don’t go too far. But on other days,
the sound can turn deadly dangerous. The
same can be true of an inland lake.
Just as you ask how the boat can handle certain conditions, I’ll ask you how
you’ll handle the boat in certain conditions. It’s all about comfort level, skill, and
knowing your limitations as a responsible
captain. Use your boat to gradually and
safely learn when it’s not a good day for
I have a power cruiser with two diesels,
with one starter battery for each. The two
batteries have an AC charger connected
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