Dense fog: Boating safety/ terminology

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HOUSTON (CW39) – Dense fog spread across the southeastern Texas Gulf Coast this morning causing for visibility to be limited to a little as one nautical mile or less. 

What is a nautical mile?  

A nautical mile is a unit of measurement that is used by fisherman and boaters. Unlike a statue mile, like the one we use here on land, a nautical mile takes into account the circumference of the earth making it slightly longer.  

Lines of Latitude and Longitude

1 mile is 5,280 feet  

1 nautical mile = 1.15 miles (6076.12ft) 

Lines of Latitude and Longitude

It is equal to one minute of latitude, one degree of latitude is equal to 60 minutes! These “degrees “are the same units of degrees used for coordinates… not our temperatures!  

However, visibility is considered poor if it disintegrates to less than one nautical mile or one statute mile. When fog gets this bad you need to be careful on the roads and on the waters.  

Here are some safety tips to remember when boating in the fog: 

  • Stay out of shipping lanes 
  • Large ships cannot see you if you are in a smaller vessel 
  • Slow down and LISTEN! In very dense fog you will hear another boat before you see one. 
  • Make your presence known, use all of your running lights on the boat to make yourself as visible as possible.  

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