Please select your home edition
Edition
Naiad/Oracle Supplier

Lightning - myth and reality

by Commanders' Weather Corporation on 19 Jun 2011
Lightning - dreaded by all those who spend time on the water SW
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
Naiad/Oracle SupplierRS Sailing 660x82Mackay Boats

Related Articles

See how your smart phone can help save your life
OLAS, the man overboard location alert app from Exposure Lights is available on Android as well as through App Store. OLAS, the man overboard location alert app from Exposure Lights is now available on Android as well as through the App Store.
Posted on 25 May
High water on the great lakes – Boom or bust for boaters?
Boaters can find that deeper water under the keel may open a range of cruising, fishing or sailing grounds to navigation With Great Lakes water levels on the rise and expected to continue to increase into summer, recreational boaters could find that deeper water under the keel may open a whole new range of cruising, fishing or sailing grounds to navigation.
Posted on 19 May
BoatUS 2017 top 10 list of boat names and their meanings
BoatUS, issued its 2017 Top Ten Boat Names list today, a tradition dating back a quarter decade. The nation’s largest recreational boating advocacy, services and safety group, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS), issued its 2017 Top Ten Boat Names list today, a tradition dating back a quarter decade. The names come from tallying up requests for boat names to the BoatUS Graphics service, and each reveal much about the personality of the vessel’s owner.
Posted on 18 May
Brian McGinnis takes Mid-Atlantic Regional Sunfish Championship
Old Point Comfort Yacht Club hosted a multi-state field for the first 2017 Mid-Atlantic Regional Sunfish Championship. Old Point Comfort Yacht Club hosted a multi-state field for the first 2017 Mid-Atlantic Regional Sunfish Championship. The race was a qualifier for the 2018 Sunfish Worlds. Winds for the weekend tended toward 20 knots or more for Saturday where only four of the nine boats entered finished the five races run on Saturday.
Posted on 9 May
North Technology buys Hall Spars from receivership
North Technology Group (NTG) has announced the acquisition of the Hall Spars business out of receivership. North Technology Group (NTG) has announced the acquisition of the Hall Spars business out of receivership. The Hall Spars US parent company announced in early 2017 that it would be closing the doors due to well publicized financial challenges. The acquisition covers Auckland and Brekens and Hall Spars will re-establish in Rhode Island
Posted on 9 May
Coast Guard finds Aids-to-Navigation shot and sunk near Block Island
Crew of Coast Guard Cutter Ida Lewis discovered a buoy sunk in water with bullet holes, near Block Island, Rhode Island. The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Ida Lewis discovered a buoy sunk in the water with bullet holes, Monday, near Block Island, Rhode Island. The crew was conducting regular aids-to-navigation maintenance when they approached Clay Head buoy number 7 and found it submerged. The crew raised the 12,000-pound buoy and found 20 bullet holes in it.
Posted on 28 Apr
A Few Rays - When you think of sunscreen as a filter....
If a sunscreen is a filter of UV rays, how much is enough? If a sunscreen is a filter of UV rays, how much is enough? Where the skin is exposed and a sunscreen is working for you, it is filtering UV rays. Some of those rays always get through. The percentage of the high energy UVB rays (said to cause sunburn) that get through to cells in the skin can be determined by the claimed SPF of the product you are using.
Posted on 25 Apr
Boat International partners with NZ Millennium Cup 2018
Boat International partners with NZ Millennium Cup 2018 to celebrate superyacht regatta’s tenth anniversary Boat International Media, the global authority on superyachts and the luxury lifestyle that goes with them, has today announced that it will be partnering with the NZ Millennium Cup superyacht regatta, to be held in New Zealand’s Bay of Islands in January 2018.
Posted on 22 Apr
A Few Rays - What is Broad Spectrum Protection?
What is Broad Spectrum sunscreen? Ultraviolet rays only make up a small proportion of all of the sun’s rays. What is Broad Spectrum sunscreen? Ultraviolet rays (UVA, UVB and UVC) only make up a small proportion of all of the sun’s rays. UVA and UVB sun-rays are however the biggest contributors to skin damage from sun.
Posted on 19 Apr
Coast Guard urges boating safety common sense
Coast Guard reminds mariners that as the air temperature is warming the water temperatures are still dangerously cold The Coast Guard is reminding mariners Friday that as the air temperature is warming the water temperatures are still dangerously cold. With the rise in air temperature, the number of boaters, paddle craft users, and water enthusiasts taking to water activities also rises.
Posted on 15 Apr