Safe Boating Week May 22-28th
Lightning Safety While on the Water: 5/24
Each year 100,000 thunderstorms develop across the United States and adjacent maritime areas. These thunderstorms produce millions of lightning strikes that pose a significant threat to boaters. Lightning can generate a phenomenal amount of heat that can vaporize water, melt metal, or cause objects to explode. In fact, bolts of lightning can produce extreme temperatures that are 5 times hotter than the surface of the sun!
A lightning strike to a vessel can be catastrophic, especially if it results in a fire or loss of electronics. The best action you can take the second you see lightning or hear thunder is to head to shore and take shelter until the storm passes. If you must weather the storm on the water, drop anchor so the boat’s bow points into the wind. If your boat has a cabin, then stay inside and avoid touching metal or electrical devices. If your boat doesn’t have a cabin, stay as low as you can in the boat. In addition, make sure you and your crew are wearing life jackets. To protect your boat, make sure it is grounded. Use a good conductive material to allow the current to travel through and off the boat through a discharge plate or the keel.
Ultimately, remember that boating safety begins ashore with planning and training. Listen to NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards for the latest forecast and warning information.
This message was brought to you by the National Weather Service and the National Safe Boating Council. Visit the National Weather Service on the web at www.weather.gov and the National Safe Boating Council at www.safeboatingcouncil.org.Return to News Archive