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Get Weather Ready
Hurricanes and northeasters may be the most attention-grabbing storms, but strong thunderstorms can do just as much damage to your boat. These storms are not only a threat to your boat but also to you and your passengers. Unfortunately, no boating location is free from the risk of storms. In most situations, the best way to protect your boat during a storm is to take it out of the water.
Because of today’s technological advancements, we generally have prior warning when dealing with hurricanes and northeasters. However, thunderstorms can crop up suddenly and change directions quickly. Here are some options and considerations when faced with an approaching thunderstorm, northeaster, or hurricane.
If you’re boating on a day that has a chance of thunderstorms, which in many places can be just about every day, you need to be weather aware all day. You can do this by monitoring the weather before you leave the dock and throughout the day. Here's a list of weather apps you might consider. If you’re on the water and a thunderstorm pops up, here are some precautions to take:
- Using a weather app, monitor the history of the storm and determine if you can get out of the storm’s path by going in another direction until it passes. Keep in mind that lightning can travel a long distance (up to 15 miles). This may reduce your options of outrunning the storm. For a list of weather apps, click here.
- Seek shelter if possible. If there is a lot of lightning and you cannot get home before the storm arrives, you may want to find a location where you can dock your boat (such as a marina) and seek shelter in a building.
- If you cannot get out of the storm, here are some tips for hunkering down until the storm passes:
- Have everyone put on their personal floatation device.
- Anchor the boat in a safe harbor and turn off all electronics.
- Lower anything you can, such as antennas.
- If the boat has a cabin or console, get inside. Remember not to touch metal objects that may be a conductor for lightning.
- If the boat you are in does not have a cabin or console, remove all jewelry and lie in the lowest point of the boat.
Hurricanes and Northeasters
Because you will have some prior warning before a hurricane or northeaster affects your boating area, you should have a plan in place. BoatUS has spent years investigating the options. Review this article to learn more about how to protect your boat.
For additional information about being storm prepared, click here.