Definitely not a pleasant experience. In a swimming pool, most people would die if lightning struck. When a storm is coming, outdoor public pools close, or everyone gets out of the water.
Lightning isn’t likely to strike a swimming pool, though. Lightning usually strikes taller things, so there is more chance of it striking them around the pool.
Depending on the person’s proximity to the strike location, lightning can cause death or injury if it strikes a large body of water like a lake.
How Often Does Lightning Strike A Swimming Pool?
There’s a slim chance of you getting struck by lightning in a pool. If you are sitting on a wide pool deck, such as at a large hotel pool, you might be the tallest object nearby, making you the most likely to attract lightning.
Typically, when it rains, lightning falls on the water, so everything nearby conducts electricity due to water’s conductivity.
In spite of the fact that lightning is unlikely to strike you on the head, the fence surrounding the pool is. Or the chair used by the lifeguards. A potted plant might also…
Can You Swim During A Lightning Storm?
No, short answer.
No matter if you’re in the ocean or a pool, swimming in a thunderstorm with lightning isn’t safe.
The water conducts electricity, so lightning strikes more often on water than on land since a body of water is like putting a hairdryer in a bath.
If lightning strikes the water where you’re swimming, you could get seriously injured or even die.
What Actually Happens When Lightning Strikes A Pool Or Lake
Whenever lightning strikes water, it dumps a lot of energy into the bit of water it hits, so steam is formed near the spot it hits.
A lightning strike can melt sand and turn it into glass because it releases so much energy.
There will probably be a bubble of steam which will cause a splash nearby when it vaporizes the water.
Getting hit by lightning while swimming in a lake can be really dangerous. Lightning can conduct electricity a little if it hits the middle of a lake, since water has salt in it.
Electricity would flow better through you. You can be a kind of ‘short’ if the lake has a big current from a lightning strike, as it can jump 2m to an easy path if you’re swimming in it. That’ll make it flow through you.
That’d be dangerous since you’d get a big current going through you. You don’t go swimming in a thunderstorm in the States because it can stop your heart. Those fish could get fried too!
If You’re In the Pool During a Lightning Strike
You’re better at conducting electricity than your pool’s water. Lightning also likes better conduits, just like it likes high places.
So, your chances of getting directly struck are higher than the chances of the water just hitting the water nearby. Direct hits can stop your heart and kill you.
Even if it doesn’t stop your heart, getting hit by lightning will be painful. There’s a good chance you’ll get burned.
Even if your heart is still beating, the shock and pain can make you unable to swim when you’re in the water.
There’s a chance lightning will strike nearby again, so people who try to rescue you are also at risk. All that only applies to outdoor pools during thunderstorms.
Since indoor pools are usually in grounded buildings, they’re more secure from lightning since they can be hit by lightning without harming anyone.
Lightning can be reduced with a grounding system like an outdoor pool, but these systems are expensive.
How Dangerous Is Lightning To Swimmers?
The best course of action is to get into a building as quickly as you can, or, failing that, into a car, even if you risk destroying the seats.
The Direct Result Of A Lightning Strike
A direct lightning strike is the biggest fear. Lightning usually hits the tallest thing in the area when it strikes.
You’re probably the highest point in the area, so you’re a nice lightning target if your head’s above water level. That’s bad.
Just don’t scramble out of the water onto the nearest boat as that will lift you higher and potentially put you at greater risk.
According to U.S. statistics, 71 people died from lightning strikes between 2006 and 2015, 20% in boats, and 8% in swimming pools.
I don’t think this proves water is safer than boats.
While we don’t know how many people are involved in each activity, one thing is for sure: lightning can kill you whether you’re on or in the water.
Indirect Lightning Strikes
You don’t have to get hit by lightning directly to die. Lightning dissipates through the ground when it strikes land.
You might die if the current strikes your body indirectly – this kills a lot of livestock, especially if you’re standing nearby.
When lightning strikes water, it generates a current because water is a good conductor of electricity.
Would it hurt you if you were in the water near the lightning strike?
That depends on how well the water conducts electricity compared to your body, I guess.
You’ll escape unharmed if your body doesn’t conduct it well enough. It’s not something I’d want to test!
It’s important to make sure the people in your pool are safe, but it’s also important to make sure the pool itself is safe.
It’s easy for lightning strikes to damage your pool’s heater, filter, and pump. Equipment can be ruined by the strike because it overloads the electrical circuits.
The only way to prevent lightning damage to your pool is to install surge protectors. But that’s just one more thing that makes pool ownership too expensive.
Rather than swimming outside in the rain, you should swim in public indoor pools, where you’re safe and won’t get struck by lightning.