Weather in Prince William Sound

A common scenario in Prince William Sound is to wake up to dense morning fog that typically burns off, at least in part, by the middle of the day. Rarely will you see rolling fog banks. Kayakers in PWS primarily stay near the coast, which can be done safely, regardless of fog conditions. If you are paddling off-shore and fog comes in, one of you most important tools is a compass. Always have one easily accessible and know how to use it. Take a bearing on the nearest shoreline and head that way. Do be aware of where your metal items, like a stove or saw, are in relation to the compass because they may affect your bearing.

In PWS the wind can go from zero to forty in fifteen minutes, and seas go from calm to crazy. Many times paddlers don’t have the time to get where they need to be and end up exposed in open water. Ideally, you can head to a shoreline while keeping your bow faced into the waves. If paddling to shore means having waves coming at you from the side, the best way to overcome them is with tacking. Take a slanting angle into the waves, then a corresponding reversal of that, which will allow you to make some headway.

Localized winds in PWS come primarily from the east, pick up later in the morning, and get stronger throughout the day. If you see whitecaps from camp, don’t leave the beach! If whitecaps are starting up while you're paddling, start heading towards shore. Local advice includes the saying, "Go with what’s in front of your face." This means making decisions based on actual conditions, not based on what you believe they may or may not be in the near future.


Explore Further