National safe boating week continues with the topic of thunderstorm safety...
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.