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Old 06-07-2013
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Tornadoes and boats...

Had an interesting situation the other night. It was about 1030 pm and there was a strong cell moving through from Andrea. The alerts started going off as they had rotation and a tornado (waterspout) was apparently on the ground and moving our way. It gave us 15 minutes warning... a LOT in my opinion.

At the moment, we were sitting in a marina. It was nasty and raining, but we could have gotten off the boat. We could have run to the bathrooms or a ditch and tried to hide. But Kris and I began debating each other: where was the best place to be? Should we get the kids up in that storm with lightning and rain everywhere, run to a ditch or maybe a bathroom, and hide there over the boat?

I have no doubt that if we had been directly hit, our boat would have gotten torn up into the docks. But would it have sank? Would it have been turtled or just put on its ear and righted itself? We are 28000 lbs with the bulk of that under the waterline. We present a very low "air" area. How safe would the boat have been compared to a ditch or a building that is very exposed or/and present a LOT of "air" area?

We decided that the boat was the safest place. We prepared to get knocked on our ear, stowed everything we could (luckily we keep our boat pretty much this way... another discussion), and hunkered down.

We got some pretty good wind. A lot of rain. Lots of lightning. However, the tornado did not get close to us (that we know of). Still, it did create quite a conversation that night and the next morning: Where is the safest place in a tornado?

Of course, at sea, you are stuck. I would venture to say that if you were on a ball or at anchor, same thing. But at a marina, you do have a choice.

What would you do? What is the lesser of two evils?

Brian
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