What if We’re Caught in a Storm on the Lake?

March 25, 2020 5:44 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Storms can pose major risks to people out on the water. The water can get rough, which can result in discomfort and difficulty in operating the boat. Rough waters could also knock people around, causing potential injuries. There’s also the ever-present danger of lightning strikes, not to mention collisions with other boaters, objects or land.

It’s always in your best interest to carefully analyze the weather forecast before you go out on the water so you can avoid being stuck out in the middle of a lake storm in Lewiston, CA. But there are some circumstances in which the weather on the water can change quite quickly, so even if it looks like you’re going to have a clear day ahead of you, it’s still important to be prepared to handle a storm situation. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

Get off the water as soon as you can

When you start noticing the signs of a storm, you should make it your top priority to get off the water as soon as you’re able to do so—before the storm strikes, if possible. Get to the nearest marina, even if it’s not your final destination, and get off your boat. Unless you have plenty of time to get to the ramp and get your boat out of the water and back to your trailer, you should just focus on getting to a marina. Aligning a boat and trailer in high winds can be dangerous at worst, and very difficult at best.

If there isn’t a nearby marina, you can attempt to beach the boat on a soft shore, but only if you know it’s going to be protected from wind and waves, because beaching on a shore in the direct path of the wind can be quite dangerous. Your boat could sustain some significant damage.


If you can’t get off the water, you can try anchoring. This requires you to have solid ground tackle, and to find a spot where you’re protected from wind and waves. Lay out the rode with a minimum 8:1 scope. If possible, lay out two anchors in a V formation from the bow. Make sure you have enough room to turn a complete circle around the anchors without hitting anything. Turn on your lights to warn other boaters of your presence.

Riding out the storm

If anchoring isn’t going to be feasible or safe, then you’re better off riding out the storm under power. Go to a part of the water where there are few obstructions or hazards to maneuver around, turn on your navigational lights and go into the wind at minimum speed. Go into all waves at a 45-degree angle. Your biggest concerns will be lightning and slips and falls on board, but if you’re properly prepared, you can minimize those risks.

For more information about what to do when caught in lake storms while pontoon boating in Lewiston, CA, contact Trinity Alps Marina today. We look forward to assisting you.

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