4 Reasons to Go Boating In Winter
Too many boaties don’t realise how good boating is in winter. When the weather cools down many boat owners think it’s time to leave their boat in storage until the start of next summer. Here at Blue HQ we believe winter is a great time to go boating, offering some of the best conditions we experience in the year.
Sure you get more stormy days, but in between you get some beautiful clear sunny flat winter days. There are more benefits to winter boating than that including, reduced number of boats, great surf, whales are showing up around Rottnest and the fishing fires up closer to shore.
Reason Number 1 to Go Boating In Winter – The Weather
Winter in Perth is a lot less windy than summer. Sure you get a few storms in winter, but summer in Perth can be can plagued by strong sea breezes in the afternoons and stiff easterlies in the morning. The data shows this, the average wind speed for the month of July in Perth is 11.8kms per hour in the morning and 16.5kms per hour in the afternoon. Summer is significantly windier with an average speed in the morning of 19.3kms per hour and 21.4 kms per hour in the afternoon. There is nothing quite like a total glass off all day to make it an enjoyable experience for your passengers. Winter in Perth can provide some of the best days to go boating. It’s the only season where you’re likely to get consecutive days of winds less than 8 knots, providing the perfect conditions for boating.
An average wind pattern in Perth during July. A few windy days and some days that are a glass off. Image by Seabreeze.
Reason Number 2 to Go Boating In Winter – The Crowds Are Down
Boating in Perth is extremely popular, and for good reason, Perth is an incredible place to go boating. Have you ever tried to hire a mooring or drop anchor in one of the Rottnest’s popular bays in the middle of summer? It can get crowded. Come winter you can enjoy some peace and quiet and often have some of these fantastic spots all to yourself. Once there you can enjoy a meal or drink on the island without fighting for a seat. Plus, if you plan to stay a few nights at Rotto you can get some great discounts on accommodation. The same conditions apply for the river with Elizabeth Quay, the East Perth waterfront and upper reaches of the Swan River offering new and interesting destinations totally swell free.
Reason Number 3 to Go Boating In Winter – The Fishing Is Heating Up
As the weather cools down many of Perth’s fish species fire up. Now is the time to target Snapper and other demersal species in close. This time of year Snapper move from deeper water to congregate closer to shore in Cockburn Sound and Garden Island. Those in the know brave the cold winter mornings and evenings for just rewards. But it’s not only Snapper, Salmon are hanging around in good numbers early winter and you can get excellent squid in the shallows. For those who like to head out wide the all-day calm wind days provide the perfect opportunity to target Perth’s super deep species such as bass grouper, grey band cod and blue eye trevalla
Top Winter Fishing Targets:
- Cockburn Sound Snapper
- Squid In Close
- Deep drop for super deep species
- Salmon on metro reefs in early winter
Image provided by Ryan Thipthorp
Reason Number 4 to Go Boating In Winter – The Surf Is Cranking
Heading out to Rottnest in winter can provide some unbelievable surfing conditions. The light winds and large swell that often occur after a storm provide some pumping waves at Rottnest’s famous surf breaks including Strickland Bay, Chicken Reef and Stark Bay. Just be sure to anchor in deep water away from the breaking waves and know your way through the three and five fathom bank as you head over there. A big swell can be extremely dangerous and you don’t want to get caught in the wrong spot.
Tips for Winter Boating
Keep your Boat Serviced and Running
There is nothing worse for your boat motor than leaving it sitting around not running. Leaving your boat in storage for months over winter and turning it on for the first time come spring is a sure way to have your engine fail to start. Winter cold affects your fuel and can make your motor a little harder to start and batteries are more likely to die without regular charging. Winter can be a good time to get your boat serviced before the pre-summer rush when services might be more expensive and less available.
Check the Weather
Even though winter has some of the best conditions the weather can be drastically different the next day with little warning. If there is a cold front on its way to you don’t want to risk it and head out in a northerly wind, it can turn nasty very quickly once it swings North West. Furthermore, keep an eye on the swell charts after a cold front or on windless days. Perfect days with no wind can lull you into a false sense security when it comes to swell.
Check Your Safety Equipment and Log-in
Cold water means boating in winter can be potentially more dangerous. In the case of an emergency there is less time in the water until hypothermia sets in. Less boats around means that you are less likely to attract attention in the case of emergency from other boaties. Make sure all your safety gear is well maintained and in date before heading out.
With less traffic there is never a better time than to use the excellent volunteer VN6DI sea rescue service. You will make someone’s day just by logging in and saying hello. This is also a great opportunity to test the range and performance of your VHF just in case you really need it one day.
Even in Perth winter can get very cold. Especially on the water on a cold morning with the wind blowing on your face or late afternoon in a setting sun. Rug up with gloves, beany and thermals to keep you warm on those cold winter morning. To add that extra layer of comfort bring a warm thermos or install a stove to make hot drinks while on board.