Shocking News About Lightning: What Anglers Need to Know
By: Keith "Catfish" Sutton
When thunder roars, go indoors!
Golfers or anglers? Which are more likely to die from lightning strikes?
It may come as a shock (sorry) that between 2006 and the present, more than three times as many people died from lightning while fishing compared to playing golf.
During that 12-year period, 368 people died from lightning strikes in the U.S., an average of about 30 annually. That’s about the same number of people as killed by tornadoes and more people than died in hurricanes.
Hundreds more are injured every year, including many who will suffer permanent disabilities. While only a small percentage of lightning-strike victims die, many survivors must learn to live with serious lifelong pain and neurological disabilities.
About two thirds of the lightning-related deaths are associated with outdoor recreational activities. Fishing topped the list with 34 fatalities. Boating also ranked high at 17 deaths. (Most of those deaths occurred on small boats with no cabins.) By comparison, those who died from lightning strikes while golfing numbered nine during the same period.
Officials at the National Weather Service (NWS) hope to reduce the number of lightning-related deaths by making more anglers aware of those facts and encouraging safer behavior. A similar campaign targeting the golf community helped reduce lightning-related deaths on golf courses by 75 percent since 2001.
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