Be Careful Out There!

Report names fishing and boating — not golf — as top activities for lightning deaths.

June 27, 2013

Lightning strike

Fishing and boating are among the top recreational activities that people are attempting during fatal lightning strikes, according to NOAA’s National Weather Service. Courtesy NOAA

NOAA’s National Weather Service recently looked at lightning deaths dating back to 2006 and determined that fishing was the leisure activity with which they were most associated. Next on the list was camping, followed by boating in general.

Overall, 238 people died from lightning strikes during the past seven years. Boaters and anglers accounted for 40 of them.

Also worth noting is that between 2006 and 2012, 82 percent of the people killed by lightning were male.


“When people think of lightning deaths, they usually think of golf,” said John Jensenius, a lightning safety specialist with the National Weather Service. “While every outdoor activity is dangerous when a thunderstorm is in the area, outdoor activities other than golf lead to more lightning deaths. … People often wait far too long to head to safety when a storm is approaching, and that puts them in a dangerous and potentially deadly situation.”

Lightning can strike from as far as 10 miles away. If you can hear thunder, then you are in danger. The only safe place to be during a thunderstorm is inside a building with four walls and a roof, or inside a car, according to NOAA.

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