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Course Outline

Be alert to weather conditions, watching especially for the possibility of fog, squalls, thunderstorms, sudden wind, and ice. Accumulating dark clouds, shifting winds, and graying skies all may be indications of danger. Listen for distant thunder.

  • Track changes in barometer readings. A rising barometer indicates fair weather. A falling barometer indicates foul weather is approaching.
  • Watch for wind direction shifts, which usually indicate a weather change.
  • Watch for lightning and rough water. If not electrically grounded, pleasure craft (particularly sailboats) are vulnerable to lightning.
  • Be observant of weather from all directions; however, closely watch the weather to the west, the direction from which most bad weather arrives.
  • Watch for fog that restricts visibility and creates problems in inlets and bays. Typically, fog will form during the temperature changes of the early morning or evening hours and can persist for lengthy periods.
  • Head toward the nearest safe shore if a thunderstorm is approaching.
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