Believe it or not, winter is still a great time to go boating in the Pacific Northwest. There are many fishing and hunting opportunities, but it’s paramount to check the weather forecast before heading out. It’s also imperative to keep monitoring NOAA weather on VHF radio Channel 16 or 1610 AM radio.
A great resource is the US Coast Guard’s Bar Observations website. Any bar restrictions and conditions for Oregon and Washington are listed in real time.
Additionally, make sure you’re carrying the required equipment and consider purchasing/installing an EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon). These radios alert search and rescue services in the event of an emergency. It does this by transmitting a coded message on the 406 MHz distress frequency via satellite and earth stations to the nearest rescue center. Some EPIRBs also have a built-in GPS which enables rescue services accurately within +/- 50 meters. There are EPIRBS that can be installed in boats and can either be activated automatically or manually. Personal Locator Beacons (hand held) are also an easy, less expensive option.
Also, check out the Marine Board’s Coastal Bar Chartlettes (mobile-ready) for known danger areas along Oregon’s coastal bars.
Be sure to have plenty of emergency back-up plans and play it safe, by planning ahead.