LIGHT THE COAST: DANGEROUS STORMS, DANGEROUS SEAS
July 25, 2017 | Richard Sites
Monday marked the two-year anniversary of a tragedy that united the Jupiter area community. The commemoration event, now called “Light the Coast”, was held at the Jupiter Inlet as well as other places up and down the Florida coast, around the United States and across the globe.
Two young boys, 14 years old, we’re lost at sea during a violent summer thunderstorm off the coast of Jupiter. At the time, they were in an 18 foot Seacraft like mine pictured above.
We all know that when it comes to a confrontation, the ocean or sea will always win. You need look no further than the Titanic for proof of this.
The boys were lost at sea during one of our super violent, summer thunderstorms. These storms can spring up quickly and can change into super violent storms in a matter of minutes. As they grow they often aggregate other nearby storms making them “super storms” which blanket the entire coastal area.
Old-time Floridians used to call the storms “rages”. The winds can sometimes exceed 60 miles an hour with violent and nearly constant lightning.
Commercial fishermen in the area the day of the tragedy, as the storms were building, reported seeing the boys heading out into the ocean passing those with common sense coming back in the inlet.
Unfortunately, in spite of a heroic effort by community members with boats and the Coast Guard, the boys were never found. The hull of their boat was later recovered several hundred miles up the coast.
When it comes to respecting mother nature you can’t be too careful. In fact, Jupiter Inlet has a sign designating it as a “dangerous inlet and local knowledge is required for safe passage”. When the tide is heading out, it tends to form very large waves that can sink a boat instantly, a not-too-uncommon occurrence.
And our summer thunderstorms are notorious for being violent and full of lightning. Many evenings during TV shows we have weather alerts streaming across the screen advising us of violent storms moving through the area.
The ocean is like high mountains in that they are totally unforgiving. In fact, there is a sign in one of our National Parks reminding hikers that “The Mountains Don’t Care” and you must respect Mother Nature.
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