A small craft advisory is a warning of high winds and rough seas for boaters. A small craft is usually defined as a boat under 40 feet, but states like Massachusetts include boats up to 65 feet as small crafts. A small craft advisory is issued when the wind speed is forecasted to be between 21 and 38 miles per hour and is a step below a gale warning.
Regardless of your boat size and experience, you should not go out during a small craft advisory. Wind speed can change at any time and pose a safety risk.
Flags indicating wind warnings
Here are three major wind warnings from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA):
Small Craft Advisory
- Winds 21-38 MPH and/or waves over 4 feet
- Not recommended that vessels under 4o feet operate under these conditions
- Winds 39-54 MPH with waves likely over 6 feet
- No recreational or commercial vessel should be out in these conditions
- Winds/sustained gusts over 55 MPH
- Typically occurs during a Tropical Storm or Hurricane
- No boats of any kind should operate near the storm