What happens if lightning strikes a boat

  • I've been caught in lightning storms out on the water a couple of times. Always wondered if lightning is more likely to hit a boat being the only object around higher than the water, and what would happen if it did hit the boat. Or if it hits the water near a diver what would happen to the diver.

    A couple of videos I found, but they're not conclusive.

  • The fishing rod has acted like a lightning rod and the energy discharge has blown the rod into filaments, an amazing photo!

    Many years ago I and my buddy were shore diving on a not very promising day when crowds rolled in, the sky went steel grey and rain came down in a heavy downpour. We clambered out on a low tide exposed rocky reef that was like a little offshore island as raindrops puckered the water's surface all around us. Now we were covered in full back wetsuits from head to foot and standing on this small pinnacle of rock with our telescopic metal polespears pointing to the heavens, when in the far off distance we could see an old harbour crane down at the Coffs Harbour Jetty pier (these cranes have long since been removed). A tremendous lightning bolt descended and struck the jib of the crane. Not long after we heard the crack and rumble of what was more to come. For a moment we looked at each other and then I said "I think we better get back into the water pronto", which is exactly what we did.

  • I know a captain which boat (zodiac style) was hit by a lightning on the St Laurence gulf/ Canada

    weather was hot but no stormy there

    At the time he was looking for whales, a flash hit the outboard motor and passed through his body

    he felt into a coma with a hole in his face

    lightning destroyed the motor and all the electric devices...

    panic aboard++ on a drifting boat rescued later by coast guards

    the captain survived with few long term effects... and resumes its guide activities!

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