Lightning hitting the ocean


Andres Hernandez , Reporter

     It’s common belief that when lightning hits the ocean the lightning sends charge throughout the water and towards sealife, so why don’t all fish die when they’re shocked?

     A single lightning bolt can contain over one billion volts and between 5,000 to 50,000 amps which both play a big role in killing people. It only takes about 0.01 amps through the heart in order to kill a single person so it’s expected that fish will die with much less power.

Fortunately for the fish, their habitat is a very good conductor of electricity which means that an electrical current will have trouble flowing throughout the water and strike the fish. Even though water is a good conductor, the fish are still not completely immune to lightning strikes.

     To start off, lightning striking the ocean is nowhere near as common as the chances of the bolt striking land, so the fish already have good chances of not dying, however unfortunately for the fish some oceans are struck more than others such as the east coast of Southern Africa as well as the bodies of water near South America.

     Moreover, as stated earlier the ocean is an amazing conductor of electrical current due to all the salt in the ocean, so instead of piercing through the water and hitting the sealife, the bolt can only punch the surface and not go far into the water, which is why most fish are safe.

     Lastly, most fish are deep in the ocean so at best they’ll feel a tingle, and not be affected, so the only fish that die are the few that are near the top of the water.