Thunderstorms can strike no matter where you are

Thunderstorms can strike no matter where you are
MGN Online
Weather Talk
Wednesday, June 18, 2014 - 8:48pm

Safety tips for when out at sea

Predicting a severe thunderstorm isn't easy, especially if you are out sailing and having fun.

Although the odds are in your favor that your boat may never be hit by lightning, if it happens it can have devastating effects.

Here are some safety tips on what to do in the event you are caught in a thunderstorm while sailing, provided by

If you are in a small boat and close to shore when a thunderstorm approaches, get in and off the water immediately.

If pulling the boat or yacht from the water is not possible, ensure it is as secured as it can be.

Increasing the number of lines tied to a dock or doubling the mooring lines help increase the odds that the boat will still be where it was left before the storm hit.

Also, there are certain things a captain should make sure are on board at all times, because once an unexpected storm hits at sea a captain is left only with what he or she has aboard. These items include, but are not limited to: (according to

Lightning rod
Air horn or whistle
Running lights
Personal floatation devices

If on a kayak, change to the wooden paddle. Those paddling with wooden Greenland paddles have an advantage here.

If you can’t get to shore, and are stuck on a kayak, stay as low as possible. Put your head down (and pray)!

Take off any metallic objects on yourself. Not because they would attract the lightning, but because they can leave you burn marks if you get hit by lightning.

If you are in a group, don’t stick too close together. Be at least 30m from each other. So if one gets hit, the others won’t be affected, but still close enough to offer help.

Now for those who are stuck on a boat in a thunderstorm, the first rule of boating in stormy seas is to head into the wind.

Ships are designed with inclement weather in mind, but these designs are rendered useless when the heaviest winds are taken abeam.

Also, storms will of course cause choppy seas, and even moderate waves can be treacherous when approached wrong.

Here is a link that can help you sail during stormy weather.

Again if you can avoid not going into the water during a thunderstorm, don't do it.

Also, if you know a thunderstorm is being predicted and don't see any clouds, don't take your chances. Wait until the forecast calls for clear and sunny skies.

Better to be safe than sorry.

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