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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We had some pretty bad storms go through our town tonight and it got me thinking. What would be the best thing to do if you got caught in a nasty fast moving severe thunderstorm in the middle of the delaware bay? I am new to boating in such a large body of water as the delaware. I have experience in the back bays of ocean city and occasionally out front. My question is what would be the best way to handle the situtition? Do you anchor up and hope for the best or do you put a lifevest on and try to navigate the storm? Just curious to your experiences and what you have done. I want to be prepared for everything (or at least try). Thanks for replies.

Anthony
 

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first a vest don't work if you don't wear it, so yes a good ideal & i would rather ride at an idel or better into the seas,till it passes,don't try to nav back to port cause you may end up side to or stren to
 

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We get hammered down here almost daily from mid May til September... If I see one comming I aim for the worst part. Usually it will peter out there where it was. Never aim between two cells. Thats what we call the sucker hole. They usually fill in and become the worst part.
Take note of which way they are moving , aim for that bad spot that should die down and give just enough power to head slightly off dead center into the wind. The off part of center you want to set course against which way it was heading before it hit you...
 

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Definately put your vests on, do not anchor up and keep the boat moving into the seas, the last thing you want is a wave or series of waves crash over your stern, a sudden onset of water like that cold cause you to flip from the weight, remember, water is about 8 lbs a gallon. Most small boat bilge pumps are only designed to pump 800 to 1100 GPH, this is only .22 to .31 Gallons per second, not as much as you thought and things happen fast. Alway make sure your bilge pump is operational and installing a second pump would be a good idea to help pump out any water and in the event one fails. It might be a good idea to carry a sea anchor with you too, if for some chance you lose power deploy the sea anchor off the stern, this will keep the stern moving or pointing in the direction the seas are going and help reduce your chances of taking on water while you wait for a rescue ship.

Another tip is if the seas are really high you may have to move at 45 deg angles to the waves, it may take you longer to get in but safety is your #1 concern.
 

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If you put the sea anchor off the stern, wouldn,t that cause the waves to come over the transom? Shouldn't you put the sea anchor off the bow to keep the waves up there and let the boat use the self bailing mode?
 

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Really depends...but always get yor PFDs on or at the ready (on better).

If open water and now in the middle of blinding rain and howling wind...just throttle enough to keep the boat pointed into it. If the waves become huge...you have to attack them at a speed and angle where yoiu can keep control but neither dive over them and bury the bow or broach down the face of them.

In protected back waters the theory is about the same...you can anchor from the bow to better hold position...but keep the engine running to keep some pressure off the anchor line.

There's not much you can do about lightning except huddle near the center of the boat away from metal. T-tops and the like forma "cone" of protection around you to a point...don't be hanging on them though.

The real trick is avoiding being caught. Know the weather is coming by watching and listening to TV before leaving and radio when out. While I understand Compleats theory of using radar and heading for the worst spot...yeah...many of these storms are moving at 20-25 knots...if you head for them...they may have moved before you get there... Last night that wouldn't have worked and won't in many other situations either. Many times it will work. Last night the cell near Port Norris intensified and kept trucking towards Avalon where I watched it approach for over an hour....Had I haded for it in the beginning...I would have wound up in the worst of it. Had I angled north or south at 45v degrees, I would have skirted the eges or certainly missed the hot spot. There is no majic answer there...but after flying 20 years in CG helos...over 6 years in the Florida/Alabama area...sometimes it is best to find a way around the storm to begin with....just try to figure out which way they are moving (up in Jersey it's almost always East to Northeast)...and don't cut in front of it.

Make sure you have several working bilge pumps as a deluge can dump a lot of water on deck...make sure if you have canvas or a bimini, it is VERY secure...keep an eye forward and look for the micro-bursts that will turn the water into spray so fast it looks like steam and if you have a flat nosed boat like a whaler or a Carolina Skiff..try to angle into it or sop when it gets to you as it can get under t6hat flat front and lift you up quite a bit...I got hit in a 22' Chris Craft Center Console of Townsends years back and it lifted the bow up 3-4 feet....

Other than all above...open water or tied up in a slip is the place to be...the worst is the interface between land and sea (inlets especially)...that's where you are likely to go aground or thrashed onto the rocks or surf.....
 

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Sea anchors are always off the bow...usually large parachute things that are designed to hold you in a VERY slow drift in water too deep to conventionally anchor...designed to keep you from winding upon a lee shore/reef (not really needed off Jersey because we have fairly shallow water out several miles. (CARRY ENOUGH ANCHOR LINE)


Drogues are trailed aft to keep you from broaching on the face of a big wave...useful when running inlets but rare you would need a drogue for thunderstorm generated waves. They aren't big enough to cause enough resistance to pull your ster under...if they do...then they are too big for the application. Trailling several loops of anchor line aft usually does the trick (called trailing warps).

The head off at 45 degrees is just a guideline...most boats will do OK with someting way less than 45 degrees. You pick an angle just great enough to keep from plunging into the next sea...but not so great you start to lose control down the back side. If you start small you may plunge once or twice...most boats will survive a plunge....but if you go straight to a 45 and you roll down the face of a wave...game over usually.....every boat handles differently even if just based on current loading and weight distribution...so ya just gotta get the feel for it as it builds.....

I know this is confusung because when I took Sea School and taught for 3 B's, they both have it wrong in their manuals....
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for all the great information. I hope i never have to use it, but i want to be educated if a storm ever pops up. Has anyone ever been caught out in the delaware when a large storm has hit?
 

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Yes to the Delaware Bay storm question...any specific questions???

Worst wave conditions when the winds swing 180 degrees and are now blowing against the tide...goes from flat to several feet of short, confused chop/breakers.

Rain is rain and lightning is lightinng...pretty much the same as you have experienced anywhere. You just have to be able to navigate...GPS will work most of the time...if your antenna gets swinging wildly...it could go out/sporadic...not as likely with the newer, many channel ones though...or temporarily if in a highly charged lightning field...or permanently if wacked by lightning ( or nearby hit causes pulse that fries it). Small boat radar becomes an intermittent tool depending on rain intensities...

Just have to wait it out or beat it to safe harbor.

Remember...don't go blasting through that chop trying to get home...if you create a medical emergency onboard...with approaching severe weather...medical response may now be hours away instaed of minutes....
 
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