Your Marine Hose Specialists Share Great Tips For Lightning Storm Survival
Raritan Engineering your marine hose distributors would like to share with you these topics we thought would be of interest to you this month regarding safety during lightning storms.
Your marine hose suppliers discuss how they say lightning never strikes twice, but when it strikes my good friend Chuck Larson, the story gets told over and over again, and never gets old.
And the odds are actually 1 in 1.083 million in any given year, according the National Weather Service. Sounds like a long shot, but in an 80-year life span those odds increase to 1 in 13,500, which seems more probable.
In fact, an impoundment of the Little Tennessee River was the site of the lightning strike that nailed Chuck some 20 years ago. Chuck and his cousin, Andy, and two bikini-clad friends were back in a cove when they heard thunder and rightly decided to head for home port, but when they wheeled out onto the main lake, they discovered the storm was almost upon them and coming from the direction of home.
Many power boaters like to think that they’ve got the speed to simply outrun or get out of the way of lightning storms, or they figure they’re safe if they go boating only when it’s clear and sunny. That’s an attitude aided by the low odds of a boat being struck by lightning, which BoatU.S. pegs at about one out of 1,000 boats in any given year. No worries, right, mate?
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Wrong. Engines can malfunction; big lightning storms can leave no room to escape; sunny mornings can turn into dark, threatening afternoons. If yours is the only boat in the area during a lightning storm, the odds of being struck go way up, leaving you and your crew vulnerable to millions of volts raining down from the skies.
A strategy of boating only on sunny, cloudless days may work well in places like Idaho and California, but that would mean almost never using the boat in places such as Florida, Louisiana and much of the Midwest.
Absolutely, boaters should track VHF, Internet and television weather reports and make responsible decisions about whether to go boating depending on the likelihood of lightning storms. Short-term forecasts can actually be fairly good at predicting bigger storms, but small, localized storms might not be reported.
A storm that builds directly overhead might be less obvious until those pretty white clouds that were providing some nice shade moments ago turn a threatening hue of gray as rain dumps on you and the wind starts to howl or, worse yet, boom with thunder and lightning that are right on top of each other.
Write the Check!
On many levels, robust insurance coverage plays a huge role in your lightning-protection plan. Knowing how to avoid lighting storms and read the weather are certainly important, being ready for action in the event of a storm or strike is crucial, and an upfront investment in lightning protection can lessen destruction.
Take it from a luxury trawler owner who sustained more than $1 million in damage from a strike: “Boat insurance turns out to be the best investment we have made in the past 10 years!” he said. “We will never again grumble about writing a check for an insurance premium.”
So don’t forget these important reminders when staying safe from lightning storms. 1) Don’t assume you have the speed to outrun a lightning storm; 2) you should track VHF, Internet and television weather reports and make responsible decisions about whether to go boating depending on the likelihood of lightning storms; and 3) buy good insurance.
If it seems every American is doing dragon boating, you may be right. But it all started in Philadelphia
If you haven’t seen an actual dragon boat by now, chances are you’ve heard of it. Or you’ve seen pictures. Or you have a friend on a team who posts her medals on her Facebook feed.
But what most people don’t know is that the ancient Asian water competition, involving boats adorned with dragon heads, 10 pairs of paddlers, a steersperson, and a drummer, is exploding across the United States. Or that Philadelphia — where American dragon boating got its start — remains at the crest of the sport.
There are no national statistics on dragon boat participation, because many of the festivals attract community groups or companies for short-term team building or charity drives. But places as far flung as Dexter, Ore.; Minocqua, Wis.; and Norfolk, Va., are touting first, second, or third annual dragon boat festivals. In July, the Cooper River held its second annual event, and Bucks County held its third on Sept. 23.
Among those recently drawn into the sport is Lyudmila Kuznetsova, a Philadelphia dentist who first tried paddling in May with the Dragon Ladies, a Main Line team. After a handful of practices, the Dragon Ladies raked in a women’s division gold medal at Philadelphia’s Independence Dragon Boat Regatta in June.
“For me it was a chance to be on the water,” said Kuznetsova. She loves the exercise and the social aspects of being on a team that draws on newcomers to the region.
“Sport is a life-changer for most of us,” said Marks, who for 25 years headed Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts. After breast cancer in 1998 and a double mastectomy in 2006, she joined Against the Wind, the area’s first breast cancer team, founded in 2001. It will compete in July in Florence, Italy, in the international breast cancer dragon boat festival. Global interest is so great that registration closed a year before the event.
American dragon boating began in Philadelphia in 1983 after the Hong Kong tourist bureau asked USRowing to send a team, all expenses paid.
Robert McNamara, a cash-strapped young doctor in 1984, joined the team for the free trip, he said. Two years later, he was coach of Team USA. Since then, it has won more than 100 world championship medals, including 23 golds. It also holds world records in the 500 meter: 1 minute, 48 seconds for the men’s team; 1 minute, 53 seconds for the coed team.
McNamara is on the Schuylkill several mornings a week by 5:30 before going to his job of 30 years as chief of emergency medicine at Temple University’s Lewis Katz School of Medicine.
As for its growing popularity across the country, McNamara says, “Anybody can get in a dragon boat and survive. It’s a big enough boat that balance isn’t an issue. You get on the water with a lot of other people, and it’s a lot of fun.”
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