From the Boathouse: A perfect Easter weekend for cruising


I cannot believe that Easter is on my radar for Sunday already, and I know many boaters who are planning to take their family and friends on a cruise this weekend.

Well, I have good weather news to report. I am predicting pleasant conditions for boating, other outdoor activities and Easter brunch on the patio. The air temperatures along the coastline will remain cool, and the temperatures will reach into the high 60s and a little higher for those in the direct sunlight.

The skies will be mostly sunny in the afternoons with the clouds increasing until Sunday, when the skies should clear in the afternoon. The evening air temperatures will remain in the low 50s, and remember that it will be chillier if you are on the water with the breeze blowing. The conditions for producing patchy morning fog along the coast should continue, but any haze should burn off quickly.

More good news: The seas will drop from the midweek's four feet to approximately two feet from the west for the weekend. The southerly one-foot swell will continue to push lightly up the coast but won't create much of the washing machine effect.

The winds will be light and variable in the mornings and peak at 10 knots in the afternoons. I foresee only a one-foot wind for a nice dry day cruise on the Pacific Ocean with your family and friends, so enjoy.

Point Conception presents good news as well for those planning to round it, with the swells dropping in height for the weekend. Midweek's eight-foot seas will drop a couple of feet this weekend with winds gusting only to 15 knots maximum.

This is a fine weather window for downhill (southbound) boats, and uphill skippers do need to know their capabilities and those of their boats for a safe voyage in six-foot seas from the west-northwest direction.

As always, just keep an eye to the weather for any changes.

Tip of the week is that springtime is the time to inspect and prepare your boat before the busy summer season is upon us, and complete those repairs deferred from last year. Many boat-repair shops and mechanics are usually not as busy this time of year, unlike in the summer season when customers are demanding their repairs finished in time for the next weekend's cruise.

I am constantly asked where to begin when getting a boat ready for the season, and I always start with a checklist so I do not miss any items. Many boaters begin on the exterior, and the hull always needs attention, especially after the winter season.

The hull should be cleaned above and below waterlines, with the topside being given a good coat of wax. Below the waterline, you may need to apply fresh bottom paint, change the zincs and double-check all the through-hull fittings and the corresponding seacock valves.

Then, check your anchors and rode and whether the end of your primary bow anchor's line is secured to the boat. Additionally, you need to check your navigational lights, day shapes and, for a sailboat, rigging. I include the bridge whether exterior or interior as part of the overall interior and safety check.

Next, move interior to the mechanical, electrical, waste and water systems. You may want to have a mechanic help you in this process. Then, depending on your boat size and accommodations, check all the creature comforts, such as the satellite TV, microwave, Jacuzzi and air conditioning units.

Always remember to check the required Coast Guard equipment before you leave the dock. You can do a virtual check at, and you can use BoatUS' commissioning checklist for powerboats and sailboats at

Please be boat smart and boat safe. Last, please boat responsibly and look behind you before you turn the wheel at the helm.

Tune in to the No. 1 boating radio talk show in the nation, "Boathouse Radio Show," broadcasting live coast-to-coast on the CRN Digital Talk Radio syndicated network. See times at, and

Safe voyages!

MIKE WHITEHEAD is a boating columnist for the Daily Pilot. Send marine-related thoughts and story suggestions to or go to

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