If you’re an avid boater like we are at Leisure Boating, at some stage you will encounter a thunderstorm and this is when you’ll need to draw on your years of experience to outwit, outlast or outrun the storm. It’s your own real life game of Survivor.
WHAT’S THE WEATHER?
As a boater you need to glean information from all the sources that are available to you such as local TV weather reports and meteorological data from internet sites such as WindGURU and Buoyweather. It will also become second nature to watch for any signs that indicate there might be a storm brewing.
There will be occasions though that offer little advanced warning for a thunderstorm.
Always check the prevailing weather conditions online before venturing out. If the forecast is thunderstorms, high swell action and rain, then boating should never be an option.
AVOIDING THE STORM
Most storms need certain favourable conditions for them to be able to form. These conditions are often predictable, such as frontal systems that create unstable atmospheric conditions.
Learning to read weather maps is one thing, but learning to read the sky and becoming your own weatherman is another important tool in the arsenal of a boater.
CAUGHT IN THE STORM
You won’t be able to predict the severity of the thunderstorm every time. There might be times when the ominous looking black clouds approach and your gut feel tells you it is going to be a severe storm only to turn out to be rather insignificant. Other times, a look at the innocuous clouds coming in belies the wrath of the storm as it engulfs your boat.
The one thing that is certain is that weather is unpredictable. With frontal systems there can be movement of clouds and winds in a variety of different directions. The entire frontal system can move in one direction while the storm is moving in another.
Getting to know the possible movements of the frontal system and how the thunderstorm is able to move within this system is imperative to understanding adverse weather at sea and therefore
ensuring your safe return to land.