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

Yep, good thoughts everyone.

Like I said, I grew up in Tornado alley. I am well versed in the destruction they can do. I have also been (on my boat) in 95 mph straightline winds, Gabriele (sustained 71 kts), and other smaller storms. I was in Charlie (Cat 3) but NOT on a boat. Wind is an awesome thing.

Jim, as far as F3 or better, I am not sure there is a place where you would be safe. Some of those monsters will pull the concrete foundations out of the ground. A boat isn't going to help much, and certainly few shelters would. We do have the added benefit here that most buildings in S Florida are concrete block (hurricane code) so able to withstand more than the stick houses we had up in Texas, and hail here usually pea size. But you still have to find a place to get to, in time, without windows or a roof to come off. How many places really have that and given the timing to get there, would you risk it? Would you leave "some" shelter for what may or may not be "more" shelter. If you get caught before you get there, could be lethal.

Again, I don't think there is a right answer. I am not saying to stay in a boat... and certainly not all boats. But I wonder how well a heavy boat, sitting in the water, would withstand those winds?? Unlike the 18 wheeler, we present very little windage. I do believe they could be put on their ear, maybe even rolled, but I find it unlikely in anything but a monster it would be picked up out of the water and thrown. Drowning is a real possibility, especially in deep slips, but how do you factor that against being struck by debris going hundreds of miles an hour that would certainly kill you?

Like I said, straw through a tree... and there are certainly things that would cause more damage than straw flying around out there. A storm shelter would be the ideal place, of course, but in all the years I have been cruising, I sure haven't ever been in a marina with a storm shelter... not even in N Texas or Oklahoma. SO now you choose between the lesser of two evils and I am not sure which one that is, and obviously, it all 'depends'...

Brian
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