Lightning safety for boaters - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Lightning safety for boaters

Keeping a close eye on the weather is particularly important when planning on doing any boating.  It is highly recommended that all mariners invest in a NOAA Weather Radio.  When weather conditions are threatening, stay off the water until the weather improves.  If you're already on the water and see thunderstorms approaching, get to shore if at all possible.  Here are some safety tips if you get caught on your boat during adverse weather:

  • Stay in the center of the cabin if the boat is so designed.  If no enclosure is available, stay low in the boat. 
  • Keep arms and legs in the boat.  Do not dangle them in the water.
  • Discontinue fishing, water skiing, scuba diving, swimming or other water activities when there is lightning or even when weather conditions look threatening.  The first lightning strike can be a mile or more in front of an approaching thunderstorm.
  • Disconnect and do not use or touch the major electronic equipment, including the radio, throughout the duration of the storm.
  • Lower, remove, or tie down the radio antenna and other protruding devices if they are not part of the lightning protection system.
  • To the degree possible, avoid making contact with any portion of the boat connected to the lightning protection system. (if applicable)
  • It would be desirable to have individuals aboard who are competent in CPR and first aid.  Many individuals struck by lightning or exposed to excessive electrical current can be saved with prompt and proper artificial respiration or CPR
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