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Old 14 May 2024, 09:48   #1
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Gauging sea state from data and finally putting the thing in salt water

Ello. I've been googling but feel the need to talk about it. I'm doing a lot of question threads at the minute, I know, but I'm slowly working up to my first coastal outing.

I went to Lincolnshire coast Sunday night near Mablethorpe to check out beach launching conditions. High tide was about 22.30 so I got there about half six to see how it would look. Judging by the teenagers messing about in the surf and observing it for an hour or so, looks like 3 hours before high tide and after would be fine to get the boat launched in terms of depth.

But what sort of sea is it? So Met Office beach report, Windfinder etc. all said wind ESE, 12-15mph, gusts ~22-24ish, wave height 0.7/0.8, interval 5s.

There was considerable surf that looked like it would certainly interfere with launching

The wind on the beach was fairly strong and almost continuous. Further out you could see the swells with the occasional white top. 0.7 wave height looked about right, just like the surf. Looking up the Beaufort scale, I guess it was a 3 to 4?

Here's a quick bit of vid I shot. In the flesh it felt a little bit more fierce I reckon than what it looks here.

https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/5dqi2...=f8mhwlet&dl=0

So, as a first timer (I didn't have the boat with me anyway, I was there to investigate) I was looking at it and thinking urrrrm, hmmm . I expect if I was more experienced it would look less intimidating but I'd be questioning if I'd actually enjoy it.

So my question is, how do you interpret this data to decide whether or not it's worth making the trip to the beach to see if today's going to be a goer? What's the difference between a borderline yes and a hmm, better not, BEFORE you leave the house? What set of numbers make it for you?

I'll add that I appreciate that it's all about how I myself feel comfortable on the day, all that stuff. I'm never going to take myself out of my comfort zone. When I feel accomplished, I'll be taking my 12 year old with me, and there'll be no risks then. What I'm interested in, is your interpretation of data sets.

Cheers for help
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Old 14 May 2024, 10:02   #2
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Ello. I've been googling but feel the need to talk about it. I'm doing a lot of question threads at the minute, I know, but I'm slowly working up to my first coastal outing.

I went to Lincolnshire coast Sunday night near Mablethorpe to check out beach launching conditions. High tide was about 22.30 so I got there about half six to see how it would look. Judging by the teenagers messing about in the surf and observing it for an hour or so, looks like 3 hours before high tide and after would be fine to get the boat launched in terms of depth.

But what sort of sea is it? So Met Office beach report, Windfinder etc. all said wind ESE, 12-15mph, gusts ~22-24ish, wave height 0.7/0.8, interval 5s.

There was considerable surf that looked like it would certainly interfere with launching

The wind on the beach was fairly strong and almost continuous. Further out you could see the swells with the occasional white top. 0.7 wave height looked about right, just like the surf. Looking up the Beaufort scale, I guess it was a 3 to 4?

Here's a quick bit of vid I shot. In the flesh it felt a little bit more fierce I reckon than what it looks here.

https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/5dqi2...=f8mhwlet&dl=0

So, as a first timer (I didn't have the boat with me anyway, I was there to investigate) I was looking at it and thinking urrrrm, hmmm . I expect if I was more experienced it would look less intimidating but I'd be questioning if I'd actually enjoy it.

So my question is, how do you interpret this data to decide whether or not it's worth making the trip to the beach to see if today's going to be a goer? What's the difference between a borderline yes and a hmm, better not. What set of numbers make it for you?

I'll add that I appreciate that it's all about how I myself feel comfortable on the day, all that's stuff. I'm never going to take myself out of my comfort zone. When I feel accomplished, I'll be taking my 12 year old with me, and there'll be no risks then. What I'm interested in is, your interpretation of data sets.

Cheers for help
Trust me, you don't want your first time out to be a beach launch into surf on an exposed coast. ESE is blowing more or less on-shore. We generally avoid the East coast if there's any east in the wind. I'm not sure where in the country you are, but you need to find yourself a sheltered launch, with a slip, into a harbour or estuary, where you can nose out, get a feel for things & find your feet. Bear this in mind, recovering is always more difficult/trickier than launching, given the same conditions. So if the launch is dodgy & the conditions remain constant, the recovery will be dodgier. Take a look at Whitby for launching, but avoid busy weekends or any weather with an east in the forecast. I've dived out of Whitby in a force 8 Westerly, I wouldn't even leave home if there was anything above a f4 with east in it.
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Old 14 May 2024, 10:48   #3
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Trust me, you don't want your first time out to be a beach launch into surf on an exposed coast.
Good answer, thank you. When I started all this I was thinking Humber, but you yourself and/or others have said to me about tide run there and mud.

No beach launching into wind, OK. I'm Nottingham.

What about Mersey or Dee? Anyone got any thoughts on that?

I'm originally from Dartford way. I can motor on down to Chatham area to the Gillingham spot I scoped out the other week, see my dad while down there, get a mate out on the boat. But I'd like something nearer for regular outings as I have a work colleague who is experienced sea fisher in his yoof and would like to come out and teach me but distance is going to put him off.

Huttoft is 2 hours. Mersey or Dee about the same. Medway and West Mersea are both about 3.5 hours. Hull is actually the closest at 1 hour 3/4, but nobody seems keen on the Humber.

Live in the wrong place innit.
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Old 14 May 2024, 11:04   #4
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Agree with Dave same as him dived boated out of Whitby for donkeys the link above helps you plan a trip. IMO forget mablethorpe boring start at Bridlington going north for more to see. The beauty of Whitby is the stretch of river if it does blow up all is not lost you can fish in sheltered water and hone your boating skills launch and recovery etc. don’t forget the forecasts can be wrong.

Edit

Redcar worth a visit beach launch the scars offer some protection especially at low tide avoid after eastern winds you get a large ground swell for a few days. Denny diving would offer some info on sea state if you call them.
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Old 14 May 2024, 11:44   #5
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What about Mersey or Dee? Anyone got any thoughts on that?
Push on a bit further to Chris Seddon at Ty Calch & it doesn't get any easier or friendlier. Plus you get to play in the Menai which is sheltered in most wind conditions & you can venture further at your leisure.
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Old 14 May 2024, 12:17   #6
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The River Mersey and the Dee are in my back yard but they don't appeal to me at all. I've never found anywhere to launch on them but I can't say I've looked that hard. I much prefer Anglesey.
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Old 14 May 2024, 12:47   #7
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https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/5dqi2...=f8mhwlet&dl=0

So, as a first timer (I didn't have the boat with me anyway, I was there to investigate) I was looking at it and thinking urrrrm, hmmm . I expect if I was more experienced it would look less intimidating but I'd be questioning if I'd actually enjoy it.
The beach is always going to look much more choppy, since the water is being swirled up by being pushed up onto a shallower shelf. It'll likely be a lot more calm when you get out a bit.

I like to use this data. It gives tidal info, swell, winds etc. https://www.tide-forecast.com/tide/G...sea-conditions

I'm quite comfortable in swells around half a metre, maybe a little more in a 3.3 or 3.8M SIB and wind speeds of 30km. In windier conditions and with strong swells, you can struggle with smaller outboards too, so that's something to factor in too.
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Old 14 May 2024, 13:12   #8
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Can't help you where to launch, but I agree, that a beach launch isn't for the faint hearted. You want a sheltered harbour to get your bearings, and then venture out. You know that even with the best forecasts, conditions constantly change, so in some ways you're planning for all eventualities with kit, clothing, etc.

I launched out of Portsoy at the weekend, so a little longer on route to travel. I normally do a tide check first, then a mixture of XC Weather, then Met Office inshore waters/coastal forecast 24 hours before I go. To be honest, Met Office forecast, then there are usually strong gusts F4-F5 and above which is part of the reason I use the current RIB I have.

You are right to recce a launch location first and understand what you can get away with. It's more of an issue with a rib and trailer depending on the state of the tide, and it wouldn't be the first time I've nearly put my back out trying to manhandle the boat into the water with a receding tide. It's also right to be able to call off a trip - if conditions worsen. In my experience, the forecasts are pretty accurate but because of work schedule and family commitments, and who's crewing with you and their availability - then it can feel like all or nothing.

Back to your original question - use a variety of data, if you can see the weather in real life, then that puts it in context before you commit to travelling. Even harbours with webcams are useful - as you can see what it's like 2-3 days before you go. https://visitangus.com/webcams/
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Old 14 May 2024, 17:40   #9
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Maybe sounds a bit obvious, but record any data(screenshots or whatever) and add a note to state conditions in real terms visually on your scouts.
Even do this viewing webcams of a area as well.

Because if anything like me, you will have forgotten by teatime😀

If possible try buddie up with someone a bit more experienced in the boating area.
Even just a phone call away if not actually on the water, gives you some confidence.

I find a windsurfing app can give a good idea too, because generally they are looking for the opposite of us.

We are still quite new to the sibbing world ourselves, and probably over cautious if anything, but better that than dead, like 2 separate incidents with boating guys I knew.

But you are taking a sensible approach by sounding out things here with some pretty seasoned guys, so you should be fine.

Any serious doubts……just turn about. There will be other days!

A great way to spend time quality time with your son, once you are up to it a bit more
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Old 14 May 2024, 18:27   #10
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We’ve been beach launching our sibs for years off trolleys or transom wheels and would have no hesitation launching in 0.7m swell/surf similar to your vid. No real swell evident but brisk cross onshore winds whipping up a nasty chop with very short wavelength and shore break. Eminently doable but need to be well organised and committed to punch briskly through the breaking waves. Be prepared to take onboard copious amounts of water whilst starting motor in shallows and keeping bows dead head on to surf. Once underway head straight out into waves under power until clear of the surf zone when you can then get everything organised on board. All possible solo but much easier with two.

Would I do this for my first launch…..no way!

Breaking waves even smaller than these will easily flip a sib in the shallows if you end up broadside. Coming in is even riskier and requires more commitment. Pick a wave and ride on its back under power right up into the shallows, kill motor, hop out, grab the boat turn it round and hold bow to waves. Try to avoid getting the boat between you and a wave or you’ll get knocked over. Simples! Alternatively, if deft at raising motor, and it’s sandy just power right up to the beach

For your first few outings I’d recommend looking for shore break no larger than vid below. Even tiny waves this size, whilst perhaps not a risk flipping boat, are still able to push the boat around particularly coming back in.

Good luck, beach launching is fun.

https://youtu.be/88LXpPL5lO8?si=do7kEqe2RtWWR_Aw
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Old 14 May 2024, 21:03   #11
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15MPH wind in the USA term would be about my maximum comfort level in 1 meter swells. The 5 second intervals is what is concerning. Less time means it is choppy and they come quickly, so not a fun ride. Around 12 seconds they are smoother rollers, and at 18 seconds a 5 meter swell is doable.

The OP's video doesn't look bad but cameras always flatten the waves out. The water color can be an indicator of how turbulent things are.

In the USA we have NOAA and it is pretty good for forecasts combined with a wind app. Unfortunately for us these must be checked prior to departing as our Northern remote coasts have little cell phone coverage, but slowly it is coming.

Wear a lifejacket and carry a floating VHF attached to you if possible (Or at least tether the VHF).
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Old 14 May 2024, 21:15   #12
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The water color can be an indicator of how turbulent things are.
Not a good indicator in the UK Peter, lots of the East & North West coast is mud, sand & silt, it's that colour even on a calm day!
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Old 15 May 2024, 06:16   #13
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Not a good indicator in the UK Peter, lots of the East & North West coast is mud, sand & silt, it's that colour even on a calm day!
The world is amazing in the differences of...everything. Half way around the world our oceans are completely different. So is our weather

Tides have a massive effect on everything too. On a low tide we get better visibility along the coastal coves, with calmer conditions. Seeing the bottom is always nice, especially if scuba diving

I know tide swings can be huge around the UK with powerful ocean currents. Does the UK have rip currents off the beaches? Here is some good information on water movement at the beach. Good to know in case one ever ends up swimming near a beach, or wants to use the flatter water to get outside the breakers smoothly.

https://www.noaa.gov/jetstream/ocean/rip-currents
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Old 15 May 2024, 07:42   #14
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Not a good indicator in the UK Peter, lots of the East & North West coast is mud, sand & silt, it's that colour even on a calm day!
I don't think I've ever been to the beach in UK and seen anything other than this .

Thank you all for really good answers.

I think Whitby is the way to go then, it's only a further 45 mins than Lincolnshire coast. Is the harbour/river reasonable even if there's an easterly? I see on Boatlaunch the marina at £15 for launching. I may go up there on my own in a couple weeks if I get lucky with the weather, maybe take a day off to avoid weekend crowds. The guy I crew with is away for a while. I won't take my lad anywhere without doing a grown up session first so this would be a taster.

I've always got the Chatham/Sheppey/Essex sort of option when I'm heading South for a visit.

Huttoft etc. maybe one day when more experienced.

I've also got a big weekend beano in with my crowd in Snowdonia in August, so I bet one or two of them could be tempted to Menai.

Porthmadog looks pretty cool. Unless I'm misremembering, I once went there on a school holiday and a kid in my class, whose name, I s**t you not, was Clint Eastwood, got run over by a kayak and went to hospital with concussion. So there's a lesson there - don't run over families on the beach .

Cheers all.
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Old 15 May 2024, 07:48   #15
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I should also add that I bought a 2kg danforth anchor, 40m of rope and 3m of 6mm chain (I'm wondering if I should have bought a bruce).

Am waiting on delivery of a cheap Baofeng marine radio, 9w. I know it's not much but that's all there's going to be for now, cash reasons, and I imagine close to Whitby it would actually be a good option, maybe not so much on Lincolnshire coast, range being a thing.
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Old 15 May 2024, 08:47   #16
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Thanks for reminding me about Black Rock Sands at Porthmadog, use to windsurf and dinghy sail there when I was younger. I'm sure you'd be able to launch from the beach there. Anyone done it?

By the way, I also think a Baofeng is illegal to use in the UK.
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Old 15 May 2024, 09:18   #17
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By the way, I also think a Baofeng is illegal to use in the UK.
[has quick google] Ooer, didn't know that. Lot of technical stuff that people are arguing about endlessly on the internets about this issue.

On the other hand, besides teaching myself how to use it when I will need it in an emergency, I won't be using it at all unless I might die. Will take my chances with the legal stuff. Cheers for heads up though.
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Old 15 May 2024, 10:03   #18
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Does the UK have rip currents off the beaches?
Hi Peter, lots of beaches have rip currents, especially on the West Coast.

Another thing to be wary of are tide races, when the sea is "racing" to get in or out of an area. West of Scotland, Anglesey, Gower and West Wales are areas I know have them. The start of the video in this post shows what they are like:-

https://www.rib.net/forum/f16/rednec...ack-88667.html
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Old 15 May 2024, 10:25   #19
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Saw this post yesterday but too busy to make a worthwhile reply as it's a topic that warranted a responsible reply... others have now covered it well.

I liked Chipko's two core comments... "would have no hesitation launching in 0.7m swell/surf similar to your vid"... "Would I do this for my first launch…..no way"

Just a few things to chuck in...

Beach launching requires an outboard that will start instantly and run with virtually no warming up... and be totally reliable in transition from idle to higher revs with no fluffing or stalling... even on choke/part choke.

Also your kit needs to all be in the right place and well secured from the off.

Despite having the experience and ability we never plan an outing that requires a beach launch from the outset. A big reason is like Croolis we have a fair trip to get to the coast and beach launches risk a slight downshift in the weather meaning you can't easily get away. If you plan on an estuary or similar location launch from an all/most states of the tides slip then at least if it is really blowing when you get there you'll still be able to launch and go somewhere.
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Old 15 May 2024, 19:03   #20
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Push on a bit further to Chris Seddon at Ty Calch & it doesn't get any easier or friendlier. Plus you get to play in the Menai which is sheltered in most wind conditions & you can venture further at your leisure.
What about current in the Menai?

And fish?
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