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Boating and Lightning Storms

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Boating and Lightning Storms

Postby allingeneral » Mon Aug 11, 2008 12:48 pm

So, we were out yesterday, about 10 miles from our port, and a thunder storm blew in. I had been taught growing up that I should run the boat up on a beach somewhere in order to ground the boat and thus protect boat and occupants from lightning strike. I knew that the storm was going to be a came and went in about 30 minutes. The answers to the questions below may be very different for a sustained thunderstorm.

There was a bit of lightning yesterday afternoon and I was concerned. We had taken refuge (if you want to call it that) on an island, expecting the winds to be from the West (give or take 60 degrees either direction), we would have been well protected from the waves. Unfortunately, the wind came from the Northeast, which made for a wild ride on the Southeast side of the island where we anchored.

So, I have a couple of questions and would appreciate some insight regarding boats and lightning...

1) What if we were 15 miles offshore and couldn't get back before lightning started popping everywhere? Just keep going toward shore/nose into the wind or anchor and hope for the best?

2) Has anyone here ever heard of a small craft (fiberglass hull, no mast...speedboat/cruiser/fishing boat) being hit by lightning?

3) Where's the best place to hunker down and wait out a storm in a small boat? Near land? Beached? If beached... an open beach or a wooded one with trees around it? Not beached (i.e. drop and anchor off the bow, put the nose toward the wind and ride it out)?

Your thoughts will be appreciated.
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