Before setting out on your personal watercraft for some aquatic fun…
Check the current weather forecast for watches, warnings or small craft advisories.
While on the water…
Watch for signs of approaching thunderstorms…
such as Darkening skies
Clouds that appear to rapidly develop vertically
(Large Anvil shaped clouds usually mean heavy rain, hail, lightning, and possible tornadoes. Note the anvil usually points in the direction the storm is moving.)
Increasing or shifting winds
Sudden drop in temperature
Steady increase in wave size or frequency
Lightning flashes in clouds
(Distant lighting can also be heard by tuning to an off station frequency on AM Radios and listing for static crashes)
Deadly lightning can occur for miles in front of an approaching storm and well after the storm has passed.
If you think a thunderstorm may be approaching, head back to the boat ramp as soon as possible.
If you get caught in a thunderstorm or notice frequent lighting, head for the shoreline as soon as possible. (Remember: Being the tallest object on the water is not a good thing in a thunderstorm)
If you find yourself in really rough water conditions, reduce your speed and angle the watercraft into the waves (about a 45 degree angle) to lessen the chances of being tossed off the PWC.
Find shelter immediately. While a large tree on shore might offer the best protection from rain and hail it also servers as a giant lighting rod!
Find the smallest tree in the area and stand as far away from the trunk as possible. (Just incase lighting does strike your smaller tree)