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Officials advise boaters to take caution during a thunderstorm

Weather at Shasta Lake

They say the worst place to be when lightning strikes is out on the lake, and law enforcement agencies emphasize boaters have the responsibility to keep themselves and their passengers safe.

According to the National Safe Boating site, in the event of lightning, boaters should get off the lake as soon as possible.

The Shasta County Sheriff's Boating Division explains boaters have a greater responsibility, especially because some choose to recreate on the lake in all weather. Sgt. Rob Sandbloom with the Boating Safety Division recommends checking the weather forecast before going out on the lake, but if you are already there and a thunderstorm rolls in, here are your options:

According to the National Safe Boating site, in the event of lightning, boaters should get off the lake as soon as possible.

If you can't get to a boating dock quickly, dock your boat at the nearest island and wait out the thunderstorm.

Sgt. Sandbloom said there is no 'code-red' system for severe weather on the lake like there is on the ground but boaters can keep up with weather alerts on their cell phones. However, Sgt. Sandbloom advises sometimes service is not available and boaters should use their good judgement.

"We can't stop and tell everybody or warn everybody to get off the water. There's just too many people out there," said Sgt. Sandbloom. "The boating operator has a lot of responsibility with taking care of all of his passengers, operating his boat in a safe manner, making sure that he has all the safety equipment on board that's required."

Sgt. Sandbloom added most water craft have some type of metal on them and being on top of the lake, they are the highest point, making them a likely target for a lightning strike.

During a thunderstorm, boaters should also be prepared for up to three-foot waves on the lake that could possibly cap the front of a wakeboard boat.

Boaters can expect to see patrol units over the coming Memorial Day weekend.

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