... National safe boating week continues with the topic of
Thunderstorms can be a dangerous and fast developing hazard for the
mariner. They can be accompanied by lightning strikes... strong and
often times shifting winds... rapidly building seas... as well as
produce torrential rains reducing visibility to near zero. Some
storms can also be accompanied by waterspouts.
Boaters should always use extra caution when thunderstorm conditions
exist and have a plan of escape.
Mariners are especially vulnerable as they may be unable to reach port
quickly. If possible you may have to ride out the thunderstorm.
Here are some safety tips to use if thunderstorms occur...
Reduce your vessels speed.
Make sure all are wearing their life jacket.
Turn on all running lights.
Head for the nearest shore if possible. If caught stay below deck
if you can... and away from all metal objects.
Keep bilges free of water.
If the engine fails... trail a sea anchor on a line from the Bow to keep
the boat headed into the waves.
Ultimately... boating safety begins ashore with planning and training.
Keep in mind that most thunderstorms are usually brief... lasting no more
than 30 to 60 minutes in most cases. So waiting out the storm in port is
better than getting caught offshore.