I don't want to downplay safety, but.... We've been sailing along the Jersey
shore for two decades. We've been anchored out during lightning storms
that would look scary if watched on TV, not to mention being there in
person. Our current mast is 35 feet above the water, and while there have
been strikes close to our boat, nothing has ever hit us. We don't intentionally
head out into thunderstorms, but we've been caught 10 miles from our marina
during the day, and unpredicted storms can strike and last all night at
an anchorage. I've seen many boats, but none that have been hit by
lightning. Fire from improper maintenance and failure to follow safety
procedures is a much bigger threat.
The average number of people killed by lightning each year in the USA is
67: Questions and Answers about Lightning: FAQs
Driving to a fishing spot on a sunny day puts an angler at greater risk than
lightning. So relax, don't throw your rod in the water at the first sign of
thunder, and think. Rather than ditching a rod, break it down if you feel that
lightning may become an issue. Most of us are using 4-pc rods, and a 9 foot
rod can be reduced to 30" in seconds.
I should note that safety takes center stage when we're on the water,
sailing and fishing. When under sail, all aboard must wear a life jacket. I
keep about a dozen good
jackets in various sizes on hangers. I also
have a half dozen emergency style jackets readily available in a cockpit
compartment. Children must wear jackets at all times while onboard.
When fishing from our canoe, jackets are a must as well. When wading, we
use extra caution so we don't fall. We use caution when climbing up and down
banks to get into the water, and will take as much time as it takes to climb
and wade safely. My wife and I both wear prescription glasses, so eye protection is covered. We apply sunblock regularly, and watch each other
for signs of hypothermia during the winter months. We carry a small first
aid kit while fishing, and a huge first aid kit while sailing. Cell phones and
radios are kept in good repair, but we try to be prepared to have to rely
on ourselves in the event of an accident.
Oh yeah....Buckle up while driving; don't drink or smoke; and exercise