Nothing can ruin a fishing trip more than rough seas, especially for novice anglers who don’t have good sea legs. While you can take precautions to prevent and treat motion sickness caused by the inevitable rocking and rolling of the open seas, waves that are choppy and too large can make riding on an offshore boat very uncomfortable.
Of course, the waves or swells can get large enough that it flips the boat. This following scene from the hit movie The Perfect Storm is NOT how you want to end up on your Cocoa Beach offshore fishing expedition.
All drama aside, rough seas are sometimes unavoidable as we explain below. However, offshore fishing charters are always monitoring weather reports and buoy numbers to determine if the conditions are too rough for their clients’ safety and enjoyment.
Strong fronts and tropical storms are the biggest culprits when it comes to canceling an offshore fishing trip in Cocoa Beach
Charters do not take the decision to cancel a trip due to weather lightly. However, certain extreme weather events around Cocoa Beach can cause the seas to be too much for even the best boat and experienced captain.
One past example, and a common issue in Florida, is a tropical storm or hurricane – offshore charters will most definitely cancel these trips. Fortunately, they’re able to see these storms coming for several days and make preparations, including rescheduling charters. We could spend an entire day talking about storms that hit or come close to Cocoa Beach, but two notable ones occurred in the same year (2004) – Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne.
Strong storms attached to winter-time cold fronts are another source of bad waves and wind offshore.
Many of the storms, like this one from January 2011, can be quite severe and cause near hurricane level wind gusts. Charters will still run after a front passes if the winds are not too bad. If they still go, the trip out isn’t as bad since the boat is running with the waves, but turning back in can get a little rough.
Conditions in late spring are pretty calm – 1-2 foot waves on average. As we move into the summer though, afternoon thunderstorms are known to pop up. While these storms can be severe at times, charters do not call off a trip for these since they only last a few minutes.
What will offshore fishing charters in Cocoa Beach do to ensure they’re not going out in rough conditions?
Regardless of the time of year, every captain will always be monitoring weather reports and buoy data from offshore. Even if the forecast is calling for a nice 1-2 foot waves all day, they will still carry extra gas and take all safety precautions.
Of course, if any strong fronts or tropical events are coming, they will certainly factor that into their plans.
In the summer though, the conditions can get a little erratic in the afternoon during Florida’s famous thunderstorms.
In these situations, the captain will have to make a call while on the trip. Do they try and get back to shore, or do they simply wait it out. Having radar on board is very helpful in these situations.
If it looks like a small storm, the captain may just point the bow (tip) of the boat into the wind, keep the boat on idle and just wait it out.
If it’s getting close to the end of the trip, they may pick a different route home or even go to an alternate port in order to avoid the worst parts of a storm. They’ll also back off the speed – again, getting them and you home safely is the first priority, even if it takes a little longer.
For the million dollar question – when is it too rough?
That really depends on the captain’s experience and the boat. A 40 foot, cabin cruiser vessel will easily handle 8 foot waves, but it may not be too comfortable for the passengers. However, if they only have a 26 foot open fishermen, it may get a little dicey.
Generally speaking though, anything too much over 6 feet all day will cause the captain to rethink his plans. Again, the priority of Cocoa Beach offshore fishing charters is to ensure you’re safe and have a good time.
OFishal Business Charters in Cocoa Beach has extensive experience reading the weather and waves to determine if it’s too rough to go out. Their main boat is equipped with all the necessary safety equipment and radar so they can see if anything is coming up and take appropriate action. Click here to learn more about OFishal’s boats or to schedule your trip today.
Featured image courtesy of “radnatt” via FreeDigitalPhotos.net