Lightning on the Water

Discussion in 'Boat Safety' started by ronnycl, Aug 1, 2006.

  1. ronnycl

    ronnycl Member

    I was caught in a storm this past weekend and was able to make it back to the truck, but what if I was caught on the lake or river...what should you do to reduce chances of being hit by lighting?
  2. savage308

    savage308 New Member

    Victoria, Texas
    Get to land and get out of your boat ASAP. Try to find shelter.... If the I've been on the water when a storm blew in and we had to find shelter under a tree because of the Hail that was coming down. Always check the weather report before you get out on the water. It ain't worth getting killed over, or seriously hurt.

  3. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    Seems like a toss up to me.

    Either you take a chance of getting hit while in your boat, or you go to shore and stand under a tree. That might get hit.

    On a lake in a big storm, I'd be more worried about getting swamped by big waves than getting hit by lightning and would go to shore for that reason more than any other reason.
  4. duxsrus

    duxsrus New Member

    SW Ohio
    I've always heard you're supposed to get to the shore, get out of your boat but stay near it and stay crouched over with your head on your knees. I've been caught in two bad storms before and just prefer to stay the heck off the water if there's a decent chance for lightning anymore.
  5. IL Hunter

    IL Hunter New Member

    Normal, IL
    My advice would be to get off the water. I can't think of anything else.
  6. teaysvalleyguy

    teaysvalleyguy New Member

    GC, OHIO
    Question on the same lines.

    If the water gets struck how far does it travel before it loses it's ability to kill. Just curious. Not sure if it has ever been discussed.
  7. ka_c4_boom

    ka_c4_boom New Member

    get off the water ,last time i was out in a storm we hit the bank fast still got wet but no lightening ,metal on the boat open area dont sound good to me , anyway since then i put a tarp in the boat to keep rain off me once i get to shore
  8. ronnycl

    ronnycl Member

    thanks for the respones, maybe this might help save someone from being struck by lighting. I will have to get me a tarp...good idea!
  9. ronnycl

    ronnycl Member

  10. BailBonds

    BailBonds New Member

    Fresh water is far less conductive than salt but it's still a bad place to be since you are the closest thing to the source. So I'd say stay low and get off the water ASAP. And make sure you stay away from graphite rods! That's the same stuff they make the good spark plug wires from. There are many photos on the web of graphite rods hit by lightning.
  11. Mauer

    Mauer New Member

    i hate when the storm rolls in while catn
  12. Coyote1

    Coyote1 New Member

    Dear Brother Ronny;
    Howwwwwdy and welcome to the BOC.
    I am a retired Journeyman Wireman/Welder with the I.B.E.W. and I thought I would share a couple of things with you regarding the question you posted.
    I've been out on the water in heavy thunderstorms with a LOT of lightening and hail up to about 3/4" which is more than enough to hurt!
    The last time I was involved in a situation my cousin and I managed to get the boat [his was one of those aluminum pontoon family boats!:sad2: !!] under the road that crossed the lake. There were several supports beneath the road that boats could travel under that were made of reinforced concrete and all that goes into building a road bridge to cross a large lake. We were under the road so we had protection from the hail that was coming down HARD!
    We had a lightening bolt hit a tree that was about 100 yards from us on the shore. Just before it did hit I felt the hair on my arms stiffen and I got a funny/shaky kind of feeling almost like "goose flesh" just before it hit! The concussion was tremendous! The only thing I know of that I have experienced was when I did demolition work with explosives but that is another story. We all were temporarily blinded by the harsh white/purple after images and the tree was split neatly down the middle and laid on the shore in two pieces where the rain finally put out the fire!
    Needless to say, as soon as the hail stopped we made a FULL THROTTLE/Flank Speed run for the docks, loaded the boat and headed for home!! This was on a day that started out sunny, not a cloud in the the sky, and great temperatures to be on the water!!
    Now here is the serious stuff.
    There is NO such thing as a "Lightening Proof" boat!!
    You can have all the lightening protection in the world on you boat and it may not do you a bit of good and in fact, may even make your boat more susceptible to a hit!
    1. Before going out on your boat that day, tune in to the Weather Channel on TV, or whatever channel your local news station forecaster uses. Pay attention to the forecasts for that day in the areas your going to be out in with your boat.
    2. Carry a portable weather radio with you on your boat along with a spare set of fresh batteries. Before leaving the docks, turn on the radio to see if there are any updates in the forecast.
    3. If while out on the water you see threatening clouds developing on the horizon turn that weather radio on and see if there is any updates to the forecast!
    4. Be away that most thunderstorms that have serious lightening occur in the afternoons here in the United States along with certain seasonal occurrences that are particular to certain geographic points also in and around the U.S..
    5. If you have any doubts at all about the incoming weather while out boating/fishing play it safe and head for the docks! In most cases it's going to take you time to get to the docks, then wait your turn to get your trailer backed up, boat loaded, tied down, ect, ect. You can't do all of this in 5 minutes!
    If any doubt exists about any weather you see on the horizon, GET OFF/OUT of the water! Play it SAFE! Live to fish another day! If others laugh at you that's O.K.. Let them laugh! There are Old Cat-fishermen and there are Bold Cat-fishermen, but NOT any Old and Bold Cat-fishermen. Those that laugh at you, well the odds will catch up with them in time, sooner than they might expect too!
    NEVER, take any kind of a chance in approaching weather when your out on the water!
    IF, you got carried away having fun and happen to look over your shoulder and see a huge T-Storm heading you way, shove that throttle into overdrive and head for the docks or at least enclosed shelter on the shore, OFF the boat! Keep your head down, get the fishing poles out of their holders, especially the graphite ones as they conduct electricity very well, have your passengers stay in the middle of the boat with their arms Inside the boat and not hanging over the side! Don't use your 2-way radio unless you absolutely have too and then turn it off! An "open circuit" like that is an invitation to a lightening strike of some kind!
    As soon as possible, GET OFF THAT BOAT! Even if you just tie it at a dock and head to enclosed shelter, Get OFF That Boat!!
    The boat can be replaced; YOU, and your fishing partners cannot! :sad2:
    When it comes to Mother Nature, you can't win by going against her! Man has tried this since the day he was born! Man has, is, and will keep dieing because he stupidly believes he can beat Mother Nature!
    You try and take on Mother Nature remember that your dealing with MILLIONS of volts, currents that man and his machines cannot duplicate to any great length, temperatures that are hotter than the surface of our own Sun along with other energies that the human body has NO WAY OF SURVIVING! I've seen, first hand, what the awesome power of a lightening bolt can do! Take My Word For It; IT'S NOT PRETTY! NOT AT ALL!!!
    It's as simple as that!
    Always Remember: YOU CAN NOT BE REPLACED!!! Your boat can be replaced, your rods can be replaced, everything in, and around, that boat can be replaced! EXCEPT YOU!!!
    I hope this clarifies some points for you. If I have managed to "scare" you a little, then I've done my job because dealing with energies of the magnitude found in a Thunderstorm is a SCARY Thing that no sane person would openly attempt to do!!
    As I said, I sincerely hope this helps.
    Fraternally and Sincerely,
    [[[[[End of Post]]]]]
  13. navigator

    navigator New Member

    NC- Brunswick County
    I figure if those airplanes that aren't grounded fly around lightening storms, I don't want no part of them.
  14. vlparrish

    vlparrish New Member

    Bedford, Kentucky
    I have been caught on the Ohio many times when there is a bad storm. I usually get off the water, but at times have went up feeder creeks and got under bridges. The bridges make for good shelter from rain and lightning. Still don't like being caught in a storm though. I don't mind fishing in the rain if it is warmer outside, but the lightning is no fun at all.
  15. WylieCat

    WylieCat Well-Known Member

    Ronny, you ask a very good question.

    Most storms allow you plenty of time to take action, but most people wait and wait until they are stuck. I have only had one storm that developed right around us while on the water, and it went from cloudy to lightning strikes within a mile in about 10 minutes. It was a rare situtation, and luckily we got off the water.

    If you are caught out on the water, and there is no chance to seek any kind of shelter, then there are a few things you can do to minimize the chance of being hit.

    1) Most important, put on a life jacket.

    2) Drop anchor.

    3) Pull down all antennas and fishing rods that extend up from the boat.

    4) Put yourself as low in the boat as possible.

    The life jacket will hopefully save you from drowning if the boat is hit and it knocks you out of the boat. Believe it or not this has happened and while the person was not killed by the lightning, they have drowned from being ejected unconscious into the water

    The anchor will allow for a discharge of the electricity through the anchor line into the ground. Allowing the electricity to pass into the water through the hulll can result in a catastophic hole on the bottom of your boat. The anchor also allows for you to stay in a low position without having to worry about the boat being carried away by wind.

    Antennas and fishing rods can make good connection points for lightning, so lowering them can reduce your exposure to a strike. Keeping yourself low will also reduce the chance that you become the path of the electricity to the ground.

    85% of all lightning strikes are men and 70% of all ightning strikes occur in the afternoon.
  16. wishiwasfishin

    wishiwasfishin New Member

    mumble a prayer and head for the shore i would think
  17. jim

    jim New Member

    Jacksonville NC
    Only two things in GODS great universe scare the hell out of me.WOMEN and electricity.I know they are both nice to have but I just can't figure out what makes them tick.Lets see what we know from the previous posts.85% of all human lightning strikes happen to men!!!!!:eek:oooh: :crazy: NOT GOOD.Women are considered bad luck on a boat!!!!! NOT GOOD:roll_eyes: Your woman in in the boat with you during a lightning storm VEEEEERY NOT GOOD!!!!!HAHAHA:eek:oooh: :cool2: Course of action 1:Since she hasn't much chance of being hit (15%) abandon ship and swim like hell for shore.ITS going to be VEEEEEEEEEERY BAD when she catches up to you:crazy: :sad2: :tounge_out: In fact you may wish your were hit by lightning.Course of action 2:Wrap your arms completely around the woman ,placing yourself in close proximity to the best odds available under the circumstances(15%) and assume a position as low in the boat as possible.This will show the woman that you are courageous,romantic and manly for not jumping overboard.This will make her very loving and submissive.VEEEEEEEEEEEEEERY GOOOOOOOOOD!!!!!:big_smile: :lol: There may be dire consequences nine months after the storm depending on how much "Protecting" you did on the bottom of the boat.HAHAHAHAHAHA:cool2: MORAL OF THE STORY:"If you are going to screw around in a lightning storm have plenty of protection""":big_smile: :lol: Otherwise get the hell to shore and under cover as fast as you can!!!!!!!!!
  18. just cats

    just cats New Member

    Leslie Missouri
    Like everyone else is saying; first, be aware of the weather conditions, predictions, before you even head out. And second, keep a watchful eye on cloud formations, wind changing directions or strength and sudden temperature drops. Any and/or all of these may tell of an approaching storm. If you have a weather radio all the better but most of us don't have one so we need to depend on our own senses. But even if you do practice all the above , if you spend enough time on the water the odds are that sooner or later you will get caught in a storm. I've been caught far from the ramp on three different occasions in my life. All three were terrifying but I survived them all. What I did all three times was to head for the nearest bank and get out of the boat. It is no fun sitting in the pouring down rain with lightning all around you but it beats the heck out of dieing. And I will take my chances under a stand of trees much sooner than I would take my chances in the boat. Your boat , out on the water is a high spot, thus making it a much more likely candidate for a hit than a single tree in a stand of similar sized trees. Obviously don't pick a lone tree or the tallest one in the stand,. Something else to think about... A friend of mine was chased off the river years ago by a storm and as his dad was tieing down the boat on the trailer he was hit and killed.
  19. olefin

    olefin New Member

    Dieter, good post.

    Something that most people don't think about is a very small cloud may produce lighting only one time.. and that time it can kill you. You will get no warning.

    I saw it happen a few years ago.. a lone small cloud came over, it wasn't a dark cloud, it lighting one time, struck a large pine tree in the yard splitting it all the way to the ground. There was no more lighting from that cloud.