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Lightning Storm: Safter next to rig or out in the open?

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Lightning Storm: Safter next to rig or out in the open?

Old 07-19-2017, 02:23 PM
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Default Lightning Storm: Safter next to rig or out in the open?

Experiencing the worst thunder storm I've seen this year at the office. Got me thinking about being caught in it while fishing. What's safer, out in the open or next to a rig?


I've always taken the approach that it's safer to be next to a rig. Thinking the rig is like a lightning rod and will get struck and no the boat.


What's you'll opinion?
Old 07-19-2017, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Gmack View Post
Experiencing the worst thunder storm I've seen this year at the office. Got me thinking about being caught in it while fishing. What's safer, out in the open or next to a rig?


I've always taken the approach that it's safer to be next to a rig. Thinking the rig is like a lightning rod and will get struck and no the boat.


What's you'll opinion?
I've always thought right next to a rig, but don't have any science to base it on. Great question.
Old 07-19-2017, 02:39 PM
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Good Question. I guess it depends on thought process. If the lightning is accompanied by building seas I would think close to the rig for as much protection as possible. if lightning hits the boat and you are close enough to the rig there may be a chance of actually getting to the rig or throwing a rope to it to save the boat and yourself or just the people on board.
Old 07-19-2017, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Isle Runner View Post
I've always thought right next to a rig, but don't have any science to base it on. Great question.
During the OBBC 2016 I spent the better part of Friday circle close to a rig, watched it get hit at least a dozen times.
Old 07-19-2017, 03:55 PM
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From a scientific point of view, definitely safer close to a rig. This is because ion streamers that rise from tall objects are linked up to the streamers dropping from the clouds easier. This is why trees and tall buildings get lightning strikes easier. If you are in an open field or open ocean standing tall, you are the easier target.

But luck has got something to do with whether one get strike or not.
Old 07-19-2017, 04:17 PM
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Lightning will tend to hit the tallest object. Hopefully the rig. The problem is lightning also has a tendency to flashover or ride the surface. Too close and the flashover could get you. Thats why they say to avoid trees durring a storm. So, too close is dangerous Too far and you are the tallest object around. So, too far is dangerous. There has to be a 'Goldie Locks' zone. Not too close and not too far. But how far is that? F if I know. I like between 1 and 3 times the rig height.
Old 07-19-2017, 05:38 PM
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when its your time, it dont matter where you are at.....just my .02
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Old 07-19-2017, 05:44 PM
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When I am on the water during lightning I prefer to don mask and fins, and enjoy the warm water. I also am going with the theory that I am pretty low with only my head above the surface. I hadn't thought about getting next to a tall lighthouse, which is an option in my part of the world, South Florida.
Old 07-19-2017, 05:47 PM
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I hid under a rig last year for about an hour with lightening popping all around and tunas busting on the surface!
Old 07-19-2017, 06:10 PM
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Has anyone actually had the boat struck by lightning while on board or know of anyone killed by lightning on a boat?
Old 07-19-2017, 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by jtputman@windstream.net View Post
Has anyone actually had the boat struck by lightning while on board or know of anyone killed by lightning on a boat?
It happened this year at horn island off Mississippi. Thankfully no one was killed.
Old 07-19-2017, 09:19 PM
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Never tie to a rig during a storm. Always stay on the leeward side of the rig and close enough for protection. The rig will get his way before you.

Yes boats get struck by lightning all the time. At minimum the electronics get fried.
Old 07-19-2017, 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Lobstercatcher229 View Post
When I am on the water during lightning I prefer to don mask and fins, and enjoy the warm water. I also am going with the theory that I am pretty low with only my head above the surface. I hadn't thought about getting next to a tall lighthouse, which is an option in my part of the world, South Florida.
I really hope you're joking. When lightning hits the water the electricity gets distributed along the surface and there have been people severely shocked when loading boats on a trailer. Snorkeling exposes more of your body to electricity with the added benefit that if you are knocked unconscience or dazed by a nearby strike, you drown. There were a couple people killed on a beach in CA 2-3 years ago when exactly that scenario happened.
Old 07-19-2017, 09:56 PM
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I got caught in a bad storm last week.....lightning was hitting all around and I was the tallest thing in the jetties. Got lucky and didn't get hit.
Old 07-19-2017, 09:58 PM
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I like about 30-50 yards from rig. My Goldie Locks zone. still freaks me out to watch them get hit right there in front of me. I do not like lightning!
Old 07-19-2017, 10:35 PM
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Worked on a 100 foot Headboat in N.C. Me and the other mates were scrubbing the boat down on the way back in when we went threw a squall. It hit the highest antenna which was the SSB long range radio antenna. Blew up the black box part of the antenna and took out most of the electronics.

The big Furuno scope was smoking and the auto pilot was toast.


Originally Posted by jtputman@windstream.net View Post
Has anyone actually had the boat struck by lightning while on board or know of anyone killed by lightning on a boat?
Old 07-20-2017, 06:29 AM
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We were fishing this past saturday tied up to a rig and lightening hit the rig, everyone on the boats theory was lightening wont hit the same place twice so we stayed tied up
Old 07-20-2017, 06:38 AM
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Apparently a friend of a co-worker got hit 2-3 weeks ago, I don't know where they were fishing, don't think it was offshore but sounded like open water. Anyway weather was building around them, decided to pickup. Guy grabbed a rod out the rod holder, and it got stuck by lightning. He lost his hearing in one ear and his eye on the same side twitches... not sure if this will be permanent but has persisted over a week.
All the electronics on the boat went down, including phones, boat could not be started. Apparently, this was witnessed by other boats. Someone came to help and towed them in. The rod the guy was holding was vaporized for lack of a better term. No one else on the boat was injured.
Old 07-20-2017, 07:14 AM
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Originally Posted by BAB75 View Post
Apparently a friend of a co-worker got hit 2-3 weeks ago, I don't know where they were fishing, don't think it was offshore but sounded like open water. Anyway weather was building around them, decided to pickup. Guy grabbed a rod out the rod holder, and it got stuck by lightning. He lost his hearing in one ear and his eye on the same side twitches... not sure if this will be permanent but has persisted over a week.
All the electronics on the boat went down, including phones, boat could not be started. Apparently, this was witnessed by other boats. Someone came to help and towed them in. The rod the guy was holding was vaporized for lack of a better term. No one else on the boat was injured.
Wow! He is lucky to be alive!
Old 07-20-2017, 07:32 AM
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had a relative get a direct hit in the head as she was stepping from boat to the dock. anything metal including jewelry burned her. she lost alot of short term memory.appears to be doing well now. took awhile for recovery

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