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Why we don’t row in lightning storms

Did you know that it’s dangerous to row during a thunder storm? We read a great discussion about … read more

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Did you know that it’s dangerous to row during a thunder storm?

We read a great discussion about it with this awesome photo.

Helpful advice about what to do if you’re on water and a lightning storm starts.
When thunderstorms are nearby, there are three main factors determining what gets struck, the objects: 1) height relative to other objects, 2) isolation, and 3) pointiness. But the path of least resistance (technically, impedance) from the cloud to the ground can be very convoluted, so lightning is more likely to strike tall isolated pointy objects, but there are no guarantees.
Rowers are often higher than water, isolated and sometimes pointy…. and coach boats are often metal.

When Lightning roars – go indoors!

Carl Douglas nicely reinforces this with his reasoning:
You’re out on water – a fine, flat, conductive, earthing surface.

There’s a vertical electrostatic gradient of who knows how many thousand volts per metre.

You’re the only thing projecting locally above that surface, so the charge concentration at your head can be huge.

You also hold 2 conductive carbon sculls, have conductive aluminiun riggers every surface is damp, so you really are well connected.

Bottom line: lightning and water related activities are a bad combination. Please learn more about lightning safety and avoid becoming a statistic.

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About Rebecca Caroe
Rebecca is the host of RowingChat podcast and is a masters athlete and coach. Passionate about helping others enjoy the sport as much as she does. View all posts from Rebecca Caroe

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