We just got back from 9 days on the Explorer of the Seas! We could see three tornadoes in the distance off the coast of Florida/Georgia. (I know there's a formula for calculating distance to the horizon but I've forgotten it) It was clear that they were no threat to us, but it was still pretty spooky.
You could see them touch down and pick up the water and rip apart.
I admire those of you who live in the tornado belts. We altered course slightly, but they were gone in a matter of minutes.
You never know what you're going to see out there!
Trust me, the single thing I have yet to get used to after moving from upstate NY to Alabama is the tornado threat. All day we were under a 90 to 95% chance of tornadoes, yet nothing happened near me. Sadly, many died in Mississippi today.
I've seen one water spout in my life, and it was offshore from Fort Lauderdale when a hurricane had just passed through. This was in 1999 and we had managed to arrive at our hotel near the beach prior to the cruise, despite power outages and airline bedlam.
We see water spouts occasionally off our coast, usually when a cold Arctic storm collides with a warm front coming up from Mexico. Not too long ago one came ashore in Huntington Beach (south of L.A. County) and did some serious damage, including lifting a catamaran right out of its dock and depositing it about three docks away.
I've only seen one big one on the coast here in SC. It was very scary looking to see from up the coast on the 7th floor pool deck. I cleared the deck, closed my bar, and headed downstairs. I make no bones about being scared of tornadoes and water spouts. I'll ride out a hurricane depending on the projected intensity and strike point sometimes. I ain't messing with any tornadoes or water spouts though.
I've seen a lot of water spouts in Ft. Lauderdale when I lived there. Usually, I'd head the other way, but there's not much you can do. I've seen a few tornadoes here (Alabama) and a few in Colorado. I don't like them, don't want to see them, and will always try to avoid them. I don't think you EVER get used to them.