The Grand Rapids Weather Examiner presents the fifth in a series from the National Weather Service (NWS) and the National Safe Boating Council on safe boating. The week of May 21 through 27 is National Safe Boating Week. Each day this week, the National Weather Service (NWS) in conjunction with the National Safe Boating Council will issue public information statements about boating safely.
Here’s the list of weather and safety topics that will be covered this week.
Saturday – Life Jackets
Sunday – Boating Under the Influence
Monday – Inflatable Life Jackets
Tuesday – Wind and Waves
Wednesday – Thunderstorm Safety
Thursday – Safe Navigation in Fog
Friday – Marine Forecast
Deadly thunderstorms across the country in the last few days serve as a wakeup call to the power of Mother Nature, and boaters are extremely vulnerable. With Memorial weekend in just a few days, many will head out onto lake. Now is the time to review your safety tips and weather information. It is important you include a Marine Forecast in your preparations for boating.
The following is a safe boating message from the National Safe Boating Council and the National Weather Service (NWS).
Thunderstormscan be a mariner’s worst nightmare. They can develop quickly and create dangerous wind and wave conditions. Thunderstorms can bring shifting and gusty winds, lightning, waterspouts, and torrential downpours which can turn a day’s pleasure into a nightmare of distress.
There are no specific warnings or advisories for lightning but all thunderstorms produce lightning. A lightning strike to a vessel can be catastrophic, especially if it results in a fire or loss of electronics. If your boat has a cabin, then stay inside and avoid touching metal or electrical devices. If your boat doesn’t have a cabin, stay as low as you can in the boat.
Boaters should use extra caution when thunderstorm conditions exist and have a plan of escape. Mariners are especially vulnerable as at times they may unable to reach port quickly. It is therefore strongly recommended you do not venture out if thunderstorms are a possibility. If you do venture out and recognize thunderstorms nearby, head to port or safe shelter as quickly as possible. Ultimately, boating safety begins ashore with planning and training. Keep in mind that thunderstorms are usually brief so waiting it out is better than riding it out.
To learn more, visit the National Safe Boating Council online, at www.SafeBoatingCouncil.org.
Check out these links for more on the current hazards and forecast graphics
Lake Michigan Current Hazards
Lake Michigan Weather Forecast Graphics
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