Please select your home edition
Edition
Bakewell-White Yacht Design

Lightning - myth and reality

by Commanders' Weather Corporation on 19 Jun 2011
Lightning - dreaded by all those who spend time on the water .. .
Lightning strikes fear into the heart of even the most experienced cruising sailor, fisher or boater, with much written about how to protect your boat and you when threatened. However, over the years myths have grown about lightning which have become wide-spread, and here Commanders' Weather Corporation dispels some of them:

Myth 1: Lightning does not strike the same spot twice:

It is a myth that lightning does not strike the same spot twice. In a typical lightning flash, several strokes may hit the same spot in rapid succession. Tall structures are vulnerable to being hit many times a year. This is the reason to avoid being near any tall structure during a thunderstorm.


Myth 2: There is no danger of being hit by lightning if it is not raining:

It is a myth that if it is not raining there is no danger of being struck by lightning. Lightning bolts can and often do strike as much as ten miles outside of the rain area of the main storm. Recent research on lightning deaths finds that most fatalities occur in the period when the storm appears to be ending.

During the height of most thunderstorms, people are inside seeking protection from the rain. For the ten or more minute period after the rain ends, and even after the sun comes out, lightning is still a threat. Lightning can be a threat as the storm approaches as well. The storm may be a good distance away and may have blue sky overhead. A lightning strike would still be possible.

Myth 3: If you touch a lightning victim, you’ll be electrocuted:

The truth is that the human body does not store electricity. Therefore, it is safe to touch a lightning victim and give them first aid.


Myth 4: If you are on shore and lightning is about to strike, lie flat on the ground:

The best thing to do in that scenario is to crouch down, ie, put your feet together, squat low, and tuck your head. Lightning induces electric currents along the top of the ground that can spread out and be deadly over 100 feet away. While lying flat does get you low, your chances of getting hit by ground currents are increased. You want to be as low as possible but also touch as little ground area as possible. Obviously, getting inside to proper shelter would be even
better.

Myth 5: On land, rubber tires protect you from lightning in a car:

This is also a myth. The metal roof and the metal sides protect you rather than the rubber tires.

If you are out on the water and you are lucky enough to have time and can come back to shelter, then do so! If not, then stay low in the boat. Boats with cabins offer a safer environment than those without. Do not use electronic equipment during the storm and stay away from metal objects. This includes staying off the radio unless there is an emergency. Disconnect electronics as much as is feasible.

Having a lightning protection system may help minimize damage to you and the boat. Remember, it will not prevent lightning strikes. Another preventative measure is installing a static dissipator. These devices help reduce the magnetic field strength on the boat, i.e., the device makes the potential of the boat similar to that of the surrounding water.

Lightning can be spectacular as well as quite dangerous. It is important to have access to weather information. Whether thru NOAA or private weather companies, having a forecast and getting updates on potential lightning situations can be critical.

About Commanders' Weather Corporation:
Commanders' Weather Corporation is an international marine weather forecasting service that provides specialized weather forecasts for sailors and boats across the globe. With over 6000 clients, Commanders' Weather Corporation is a leader in supplying individualized weather forecasts for all sail racing events as well as cruising and boat deliveries
anywhere in the world.

For more information go to www.commandersweather.com or email info@commandersweather.com
Southern Spars - 100NaiadProtector - 660 x 82

Related Articles

Bavaria Yachts to introduce Cruiser 34 and Nautitech 46
The Cruiser 34 will be on show at the Bavaria Yachts display at the Strictly Sail boat show at Bayside’s Miamarina The Cruiser 34 will be on show at the Bavaria Yachts display at the Strictly Sail boat show at Bayside’s Miamarina, from February 16th to 20th.
Posted on 13 Feb
Unique Transatlantic Sailing Event - Building friendship across oceans
Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta, organised to celebrate Canada 150, 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation. Sailing in the wake of the great explorers, international friendship and understanding is at the core of this once in a lifetime adventure - The Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta, organised to celebrate Canada 150, the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation.
Posted on 10 Feb
Frigid flying – Coast Guard aircrews take on New England Winter
Freezing rain? Teeth-chattering temperatures? Limited visibility? Coast Guard aircrews are still ready to fly. Freezing rain? Teeth-chattering temperatures? Limited visibility? Coast Guard aircrews are still ready to fly. At Air Station Cape Cod, aviation maintenance and electronic technicians work around the clock to ensure the MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters are prepared and ready to launch. There is one thing the maintenance crews and pilots cannot control: winter weather.
Posted on 9 Feb
On board interview with Lisa Blair - solo Antartica circumnavigation
So far, Lisa is tracking very well in her attempt to become the first woman to sail solo around Antartica. So far, Lisa is tracking very well in her attempt to become the first woman to sail solo around Antartica. After the setbacks of a delayed departure due to gremlins in the electronics, we are delighted to have these answers from her on board. She is well and enjoying her time. Climate Action Now, her Hick 50, left Albany in Western Australia on January 22, 2017.
Posted on 8 Feb
Yachting cartoonist Mike Peyton dies at 96
“The World’s Greatest Yachting Cartoonist” died on January 25, 2017 just five days after his 96th birthday. Mike Peyton, dubbed “The World’s Greatest Yachting Cartoonist”, died on January 25, 2017 just five days after his 96th birthday. A modest, shy man, he eschewed the spotlight and seemed unaware of the esteem which in sailors all around the world held him.
Posted on 27 Jan
Zhik Xeflex® - your shield against cold environments
This radiant barrier mid-layer nearly defies description. This radiant barrier mid-layer nearly defies description. How do you make a water resistant garment that really breathes, yet reflects your own body heat back to you? Where do you find a compression resistant and extremely insulating filling that is nowhere near as bulky as the Michelin Man, yet gives you that kind of warmth and comfort?
Posted on 17 Jan
Sounds like a boat - Lisa Blair's departure delayed due to electronics
Final preparations of her yacht, Climate Action Now by Sydney-based sailor Lisa Blair have uncovered an electrical issue Final preparations and safety checks of her yacht, Climate Action Now by Sydney-based sailor Lisa Blair have uncovered an electrical issue.
Posted on 15 Jan
Lisa Blair starts Solo Circumnavigation of Antarctica
Over 3,500 people have climbed Mount Everest, only two men have sailed solo, non-stop and unassisted around Antarctica. Over 3,500 people have climbed Mount Everest, over 500 have rowed across the various oceans and 12 people have landed on the moon. Only two men have sailed solo, non-stop and unassisted around Antarctica. Sydney-based Lisa Blair, 32, intends to become the first woman, the fastest and the third person in history to conquer such a challenge.
Posted on 14 Jan
When whales meet sails
CAMPER helmsman Roberto ‘Chuny’ Bermudez found himself nearly face to face with whale in middle of North Atlantic Ocean. Currently the database for marine mammal strikes is very sparse. We are requesting sailors and boaters help to submit information on current and past incidents, however long ago that may be. By giving a location, date, identification if possible, and any other relevant information you can help scientists better understand where marine mammals are at risk for strikes
Posted on 8 Jan
Potential instability in Atlantic Ocean water circulation system
One of the world’s largest ocean circulation systems may not be as stable as today’s weather models predict One of the world’s largest ocean circulation systems may not be as stable as today’s weather models predict, according to a new study. In fact, changes in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) — the same deep-water ocean current featured in the movie “The Day After Tomorrow” — could occur quite abruptly, in geologic terms, the study says.
Posted on 6 Jan