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Posted on Jul 9, 2013 in Off The Hook, News, rough-weather boating
Don't Mess with Lightning
by Sam Hudson
NOAA-lightning-safety
NOAA Lightning Safety

Here's more proof why you should always get off the water when a lightning storm approaches.

A recent analysis by Lightning Safety Specialist John S. Jensenius, Jr., of the National Weather Service, found that fishing was the most-likely activity to get you struck and killed by lightning.

From 2006 through 2012, 238 people died from lightning strikes in the United States. Almost two-thirds of the deaths happened while enjoying outdoor activities. Fishing was  by far  the most deadly activity, accounting for about 11 percent of deaths.

In total, there were 26 fishing, 15 camping, 14 boating, and 11 beach deaths. For outdoor sports, soccer saw the greatest number of deaths with 12, as compared to golf with 8. Yard work accounted for 12 fatalities. During that 7-year period, fishermen accounted for more than three times as many fatalities as golfers.

Key Findings from the Study:

>Males made up 82 percent of all fatalities, and more than 90 percent of the deaths in the fishing and sports categories.  

>The greatest number of fatalities occurred between the ages of 10 and 60, while somewhat less in the 30- to 39-age category.

>About 70 percent of the lightning fatalities occur in June, July or August.  

>The weekend days, particularly Saturday, have the greatest number of fatalities.  

>Fishing contributed to almost half (46 percent) of the water-related deaths with boating (power boats, canoes, sailboats, tubes) adding another 25 percent.

>The inability and unwillingness to get to a safe place in a timely manner contributes to many lightning fatalities.

For many of the lightning victims, safe shelters were available. However, the victims did not act quickly to get to safety. So when that nasty storm starts brewing, put the machismo in your back pocket and get outta there! The National Weather Service has its own website dedicated to lightning safety (lightningsafety.noaa.gov). All fishermen that don't understand the serious nature of lightning storms and strikes are urged to spend some time there.