If Caught in Severe Weather—Prepare Your Boat and Passengers
To determine the distance you are from an approaching thunderstorm:
- Count the number of seconds between the flash of lightning and the clap of thunder.
- Divide the number of seconds by five.
- The result is roughly the distance in miles you are from the storm.
Prepare the boat to handle severe weather.
- Slow down, but keep enough power to maintain headway and steering.
- Close all hatches, windows, and doors to reduce the chance of swamping.
- Stow any unnecessary gear.
- Turn on your boat's navigation lights. If there is fog, sound your fog horn.
- Keep bilges free of water. Be prepared to remove water by bailing.
- If there is lightning, disconnect all electrical equipment. Stay as clear of metal objects as possible.
Prepare your passengers if caught in foul weather.
- Have everyone put on a USCG—approved life jacket (PFD). If a PFD is already on, make sure it is secured properly.
- Have your passengers sit on the floor close to the centerline. This is for their safety and to make the boat more stable.