BrainDrops: Tips to Staying Safe If Caught In An Open Water Lightning Storm

BrainDrops: Sailboats and lightning storms

What is the right thing to do if you are caught in a thunderstorm on a sailboat over the open water?

Well, the canned answer is; “Don’t let that happen” and do your best to make it safely to shore in time. After all, water activities top the list of yearly lightning fatalities in the United States.

But let’s just say that ship has sailed (pun intended) and you have no place to go.

RELATED: CDC Lightning Safety Tips

The easiest path for lightning to take is striking the highest point around, which is likely to be your sailboat mast. So the safest course of action would be to get into your cabin but stay near the exit.

The cabin provides some safety from the lightning, but it’s vital to stay near the exit in case a fire is started by the strike or the waves cause your boat to take on the water.

Want to go a step further? Set up a hammock in the cabin near the exit. That way your body is not in contact with any of the surfaces that will conduct the electricity on its way down to the water. 

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