What is a Waterspout?

The CPS-ECP Boating Resource

A tornado can pass over a limited area of water and still retain its full violence. A boater is more likely to encounter a waterspout, which is formed over water under considerably less severe conditions. It can develop from any sufficiently unstable cloud, such as towering cumulus or even rapidly growing cumulus cloud. Although the fully-developed cumulonimbus cloud required for a tornado is not necessary to spawn a waterspout, waterspouts should not be taken lightly. Core winds of up to 110 km/hr are possible, along with very disturbed local water conditions. A waterspout coming ashore can cause damage to shore installations before it disperses.

Weather conditions greatly affect the comfort and safety of boaters. High winds often produce high waves and it is generally uncomfortable to be out in a boat during a heavy rainfall. Operators should always keep a weather eye open. Before starting out, make sure it will be fun, as well as safe, to…

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