sail-world.com -- Lightning kills one crewman on Philippines boat
Lightning kills one crewman on Philippines boat
Fri, 3 May 2013
Lightning has killed one crewman in a boat off the waters of Tabina in the Philippines. It was a fishing boat, not a sailing boat, but just as tragic and serves to remind all leisure sailors that lightning is dangerous on any boat if the crew is not prepared and knowledgeable.
Reynaldo Torres, Captain of the boat reported that he and nine crewmen on board their boat, Wingston, were sailing back to Tabina town when the lightning struck at around 5:42 p.m. on Wednesday.
One of the crew members identified only as Edgar, died on the spot. The crewman had defied, or was ignorant of well-known rules about thunderstorms, and was outside the deck when the lightning struck. The strike was so strong that it threw the victim off the boat into the water.
Torres said they immediately conducted search and rescue lasting for five hours to recover the victim, but failed to find him.
Police who investigated the reported death of the crewman found that the communication facility consisting of two-way radios, antenna and wire connections were all damaged as a result of the high voltage discharge by the lightning, and the hull of the boat was cracked.
From the sailor's point of view, there are many different techniques to protect personal safety when faced with a thunderstorm at sea.
Avoiding thunderstorms: First, the thunderstorms themselves are best avoided. There are several techniques that can be employed to recognize a growing storm and track one that is moving in your direction. The thunderstorm, or cumulonimbus cloud, is best recognized in its forming stages by its tightly packed 'cotton wool' appearance. This occurs because a tremendous amount of energy is being released to produce powerful convection inside and around the cloud. Of course, if the thunderstorm is forming directly overhead the cotton wool appearance will not be visible, only a gray overcast that slowly darkens and eventually produces torrential rain, lightning and strong winds. The first few flashes of lightning in a thunderstorm typically do not reach the ground and may be completely invisible during daytime.
One way to determine what is going on in the area is with a cheap AM radio. (Note: FM radios do not work nearly as well for lightning detection.) The characteristic crackle that we call 'static' on an AM radio is caused by lightning. A common problem in summer is that there are too many storms within radio range, which may be hundreds of miles. In order to lower the sensitivity of your radio to distant storms, tune it to a local radio station, or, if the signal is too strong, slightly off tune. Any loud static can then be interpreted as a warning that things are charging up.
Once a thunderstorm starts to produce lightning that hits the ground or 'ground flashes', these can be used to locate a thunderstorm. One method is to track a collision course using a hand bearing compass, as you would a ship at sea: if the bearing to the lightning does not change, on average, the storm is heading your way and it is time to adjust your course. Another method that works once the thunder can be heard is to count the time between the light and the thunder. Since the light arrives almost instantaneously and the thunder travels at a speed of 1/5 mile/second, this time divided by five gives the distance to the lightning. For example, if the thunder starts 30 seconds after the lightning, the flash is 6 miles away.
Personal safety during a potential lightning strike: One you cannot avoid the thunderstorm, the basic rule is to get away from the waterline, stay dry and inside the cabin if there is one, and stay as far away as possible from the mast and all large metal objects. Put a GPS unit inside a microwave or an oven, as reports are that the strength of a lightning strike will cause all metal objects on board to be 'zapped', even if you have the best kind of lightning protection on the boat.
Onesails.com - Workforce
OneSails is the culmination of over 35 years of experience accumulated by our team in design and technology applied to sail-making. [More info]
Burke Marine, suppliers of international quality marine clothing and equipment, was founded by Martin Burke on the shores of Sydney Harbour in 1971. Visit our website for your nearest stockist. [More info]
Ensign Ship Brokers
Ensign Ship Brokers was established in 1980 and has spent the last 28 years expanding our marine knowledge and developing our reputation! We strive to provide the very best service! [More info]
Festival of Sails
The Festival of Sails is the largest annual keel boat regatta in the Southern Hemisphere with over 400 yachts and 4300 competitors annually taking part in the event. [More info]
GME Standard Communications Pty Ltd
Leaders in communications and navigation. Their goal has always been to make products whose innovation, convenience and peace of mind can help improve the lives of their customers. [More info]
Hood Sailmakers (Aust) P/L is 100% Australian owned and operated. The first sail loft outside of the USA to be granted a franchise in 1968 by the founder Ted Hood. [More info]
Mauri Pro Sailing
Your direct access to sailing solutions. 8,000+ products for cruising and racing sailors and sailboats. We search for appropriate sailboat hardware or sailing gear and offer them at competitive prices [More info]
Navionics is proud of its superb cartographic database comprising more than 25,000 charts and port plans; the largest privately owned database of its kind, the only one using full seamless technology [More info]
Performance Sailcraft Australia (Asia Pacific)
Laser builder Performance Sailcraft Australia has taken on the successful RS Sailboat range from Britain, and is now licensed to build and distribute all of the RS range in the Asia Pacific region. [More info]
Quantum Australasia Pty Ltd
Quantum Sail Design Group designs, engineers and manufactures sails for racers and cruisers who demand the highest levels of quality and performance. [More info]
Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show
The Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show (SCIBS) is an annual four-day event which attracts buyers and marine industry representatives from across Australia and around the globe. [More info]
Sydney Rigging Specialists
Sydney Rigging Specialists is a leading company in the supply of yacht rigging, cordage, marine fittings and accessories. We are based in Sydney and work from our specially fitted out rigging shop. [More info]
Ullman Sails Australia
The Ullman Sails Australia team provides service to customers all over Australia with four main locations in Brisbane, Perth, Sydney and the Whitsundays. [More info]
Vicsail Sydney Pty Ltd, launched into the Australian sailing fraternity in 1983 and has been sailing strong ever since. At Vicsail, “We Sail the Boats We Sell”. [More info]