Deep-Six Underwater Systems, Inc.
"Add Depth to Your Life"

Table of Contents

1 Pressure and Gases
2 The Face Mask
3 The Snorkel
4 The Fins
5 Weight Systems
6 The Knife
7 The Wetsuit
8 Pressure and Water
9 The Ear and Pressure
10 The Sinus and Pressure
11 The Stomach/Intestine and Pressure
12 The Lung and Pressure
13 Barotrauma caused by External Air Spaces
14 The Buoyancy Compesation Device (BCD)
15 The Scuba Cylinder
16 The Scuba Cylinder Valve
17 The Regulator
18 Density and the Diver
19 The 4 Gas Laws
20 Hand Signals
21 Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
22 Hyperventilation
23 Nitrogen Narcosis
24 Diver's Flags
25 Sound Underwater
26 Color Underwater
27 Decompression Sickness
28 Breathing Oxygen
29 Deep Diving
30 Thermoclines
31 Thunderstorms
32 Underwater Life
33 Open Water Dives
34 The Final Examination
35 The Environment
36 Advanced Course

31 - Thunderstorms

     When you are frolicking at the shore and a thunderstorm is heard in the distance most sane people pay heed an leave the scene for safer quarters. Most people know that lightning is more likely to strike a person standing in water that if they were in a secure building. Because they are well grounded by the water and present a "high" object compared to the flat surface the strike potential increases.

     Divers do not always get the same warning. They may enter the water with the sun blazing and no hint of a thunderstorm in the area. After 45 minutes of diving the conditions may change without the diver being aware of it. So, what should you do if you are underwater and a thunderstorm rolls in? Should you come to the surface? And, what would happen if lightning struck the lake with divers in the water? Would they experience a "hot squat"?

     When a diver is suspended in water they are not a target. They do not present a direct link to the Earth as they would if they stuck their head out of the water and lightning struck that. If there was a danger if electrocution then many fish would be killed each time lightning struck bodies of water. Now, if the diver was close to the surface, let's say no more than 5' underwater, and lightning struck immediately above, then there is the possibility the diver (and the surrounding area) would become instantly charged and then immediately discharged which could become lethal. The chance of that happening would be less than having lightning travel down a bathroom pipe and hit someone sitting on the toilet.

     It has been the author's experience to come near to the surface during a violent thunderstorm. Lightning flashes were visible from underwater. The heavy downpour produced visible raindrops pounding into the lake's surface. Needless to say we did not surface. Instead we used our compasses to go to the nearest shore and then traveled along that to the exit point. If you have the air to remain underwater it would be better than swimming on the surface. But, swimming along the shore seems to be safer than swimming at the surface in the middle of the lake.   

Copyright Information about this text, DIVING WITH DEEP-SIX is as follows: Copyright 1996 - 2007 by George D. Campbell, III; President. All Rights Reserved. This file may be posted on Electronic Bulletin Boards for download, but may not be modified, printed for distribution, or used for any commercial purpose without the author's written permission. is using this material with the permission of Deep Six. The full version is available at:
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