Boat in rough water with waves and dark skies.


For some anglers, when the water gets choppy, it might seem easier to call it a day and head home. But for the avid fisherman, when the ride gets rough, that means it’s time to switch up your technique and dive your lures in deeper to catch fish when they’re most active. 

If you find yourself rough water boating, there’s a few techniques that can help you regain control of your vessel, whether you’re trolling or casting for fish. 

How to Operate a Boat in Rough Water

  • Reduce Your Speed: Minimizing your boat’s speed will allow you to regain control of your vessel and change course, as needed. Though cutting through waves or increasing your speed in search of calmer water conditions may sound like a good idea, it can also increase your chances of damaging your boat or colliding into another vessel, as water becomes rougher.
  • Stay On Top of the Waves: If waves grow bigger, you’ll want to ride them out as calmly as possible. This is done by approaching oncoming waves at a 45-degree angle rather than meeting them head-on in a straight path.
  • Strap Down Your Belongings: From your lures and tackle box to your boating safety kit and other essential fishing gear, be sure to secure your belongings, so they don’t get knocked off the boat, damaged, or injure you or one of your passengers onboard. Having a kill switch attached to your lifejacket or lanyard can also ensure your boat’s engine cuts off immediately and your propellers stop, should you fall overboard.

Pro Tip: Although driving a boat in rough water can be safe with the right equipment and technique, if the weather begins to show signs of severe winds, rain, or thunder, it’s time to pack up your gear and head home for the day. 

Boating in Rough Waters? Upgrade to a Smoother Ride

To help you smooth your ride, so you stay on the water longer, experience Smooth Moves long-lasting shock-absorption system that allows you to cut through even the toughest waves. Choose from our standard Ultra seat suspension kit or feel like you’re floating on air with our advanced Air suspension system that adjusts to height with a simple push of a button. 

Shop our Smooth Moves seat selection online or ask a marine dealer near you about getting set up with a smoother ride!

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Related Reading:

The Dos and Don’ts of Navigating Big Waves When Boating
8 Ways to Prevent SeasicknessDark cloudscape over a body of water.