Stanley Yacht Services: Lightning Strike Story Sparks Yacht Crew's Memory

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Lightning Strike Story Sparks Yacht Crew's Memory

On Wednesday, Good Morning America reported a Florida woman's scary ordeal when lightning struck the car she was driving along Interstate 4. On hearing the story, our SYS delivery crew reminisced about a similar [mis]adventure they had aboard a boat on the open water. While sitting safely on the aft deck of our charter yacht on a bright and very unstormy afternoon, they gave us a brief recap of their experience.
"That came out of nowhere!" our stewardess, Laura, gasped.
We were 5 miles offshore near Cape Sable, FL when lightning struck the water about 10 feet off the starboard side of the 54' Tarquin Trader we were delivering to Fort Lauderdale a few years ago. 
And it was, to put it mildly, slightly terrifying. 
Everything happened, it seemed, in slow motion. 
The electrical current was so strong, it traveled through the boat, delivering to the helm a bright, mini-bolt of lightning that arced from the stainless steel wheel into Capt. Ben's thigh. Our stew, Laura, who had been in the process of climbing the ladder to the flybridge, was frozen in place and shock - no pun intended - on the second rung. Our mate, Jo, was flung off her feet by the concussive force of the thunderclap. She landed hard, very hard; the port side bench seat "broke" her fall.
And then, it was over. The only evidence - a puff of smoke lingering above the spot on the water where the lightning hit.
Thankfully, no one was seriously injured (just some minor bruises) and the vessel didn't sustain any damage. We were surprised the electronics were intact and still functioning, to be honest. Or that the boat didn't take a direct hit - we were the only vessel out there and, obviously, the tallest object. Just lucky, we guess.
By the way, when this happened .... it wasn't even raining.
And on that note, we all glanced up at the sky and decided that, as harmless as those puffy white clouds appeared, it was as good a time as any to check out the interior of the charter yacht. (After all, Florida is the lightning capital of the United States!)

Do you have any lightning stories, mates? Do share!

And, by the way, click below for some Lightning Safety Tips:NWS Lightning Safety Home Page
For smooth sailing and zero stress ... call SYS!

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