When it comes to boating in the southeastern states, including Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, weather can become a factor, particularly wind. Wind creates dangerous conditions on inland, coastal, and offshore waters. It is essential to understand the impacts of wind and what strength wind is considered a gal. Here is what you need to know about gale force winds. 

What Is A Gale Force Wind

The question is often asked, what is a gale? A gale wind is between a stiff breeze and hurricane force winds. The National Weather Service issues gale warnings to warn coastal residents and boaters of impending gusty and sustained winds arriving in the area. However, a gale is not tied directly with tropical storm formation. 

Boaters must heed caution when gale warnings are posted as they create dangerous conditions when navigating fresh and salt bodies of water. Therefore it is critical to know what is gale force winds in addition to the dangers.

Why Is It Called Gale-Force Winds

When it comes to the question why is it called gal force winds? It is believed that the term gale was derived from the medieval language of Sweeden, Denmark, Iceland, and Norway. Gale is associated with frantic or anger, which makes sense because the strong sustained winds behave angrily and franticly. 

How Is Wind Speed Measured

When measuring windspeed, an anemometer is required. An anemometer consists of three to four cups mounted on the spindle. The cups catch the wind causing the upper portion to spin. Speed is measured by the rate at which the anemometer spins. The device is calibrated and stores the data electronically. 

Are Gale-Force Winds Bad

Yes, gale force winds are bad because they cause dangerous sea conditions. The sea conditions quickly turn from calm to rough. Additionally, boaters become challenged to maintain a heading when underway as a result of the wind speed. Therefore, know what is gale and monitor the weather before boating.

What Are Gale Force Winds In MPH

To define what are gale force winds, gale winds blow between thirty-nine and fifty-four miles per hour. Imagine a car moving fifty-four miles per hour. The wind speed is substantial. 

What Is The Difference Between Gale And Storm

A gale is a more intense wind when compared to a storm. Storm winds are unlikely to cause damage as a gale force wind would. 

Gales typically blow for extended periods versus storms which blow in situations when thunder and lightning approach. A gale is closely associated with rapid temperatures changes as cold fronts sweep from west to east in the United States. 

How Many Knots Is A Gale Warning

To define gal force winds in knots, a gale warning ranges between thirty-four and forty-seven knots. Mariners including those who operate ships, yachts, and other types of commercial vessels use knots versus miles per hour when monitoring wind speed.

What To Do If There Is A Gale Warning

While a gale warning significantly impacts boats, the strong wind forces affect boats secured to docks or operating on the water. 

So, when it comes to is gale warning dangerous? the answer is yes because objects which easily become airborne must be secured to prevent them from becoming tossed about into the air as the strong winds approach. Additionally, boaters face life threatening sea conditions when in operation.

Impacts Of Gale Winds On Boaters

When it comes to boating, the impacts of gale winds are substantial. Here is what you need to know about preparing for dangerous wind speeds. 

Operating The Boat In Gale Winds

When operating a boat in gale winds, the driver must take extra precautions. Stiff winds present the following problems, which include heavy seas, challenges when docking, drifting when anchored, and the worst is capsizing or becoming swamped. 

When docking, the operator must not only navigate currents but strong winds. Heavy winds affect the approach and often results in boats striking the dock firmly when wind pushes the vessel towards the dock or missing the dock altogether with opposing winds. 

Boaters are most frequently listed under a small craft advisory with the onset of gale winds. Boats under 33 feet fall under the category of small craft. Avoid venturing onto the water during a small craft advisory as the lake, coastal, or offshore waters will present the risk of capsizing or becoming swamped. Never venture out when gale warnings are posted as they present a risk to everyone onboard the vessel. 

Securing The Boat When Gal Force Winds Are Expected

If gale winds are expected, and the vessel remains dockside, take precautions to avoid damage. Make a trip to the dock and add extra dock lines and fenders. When the wind blows, the vessel risks breaking free from the marina when improperly tied. 

In addition to the risk of breaking free, the hull is prone to damage due to slamming against the dock when stiff winds swirl and push the boat towards and away from the floating or affixed structure. Be sure to place extra fenders when gale force winds are expected to prevent scratching and scraping of the hull. 

Now You Know About Gale Force Winds

Now that you know the defition of what is a gale, we are not trying to create fear, but the stiff gal winds are dangerous when venturing onto fresh and salt bodies of water in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. To avoid damage dockside, swamping, or sinking, take extra precautions or remain at the dock. Never risk lives or damaging a vessel to spend a day on the water in poor conditions.