Friends mourn loss of man killed by lightning while boating

People around Melbourne's Pineda Point Marina who knew Peter Strong said he loved his boat and loved to fish. 

Marina technician Edgardo Plaza saw him often, and as recently as just a few days ago. "He would spend the early days of the week cleaning probably to use it on the weekend," Plaza said. "He looked pretty happy."

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said on Sunday afternoon, Strong and a woman were caught in a severe thunderstorm on the Indian River just south of the marina. First responders got a 911 call about a boat struck by lightning. Brevard County Fire Rescue crews said Strong didn’t survive the strike. 

RELATED: Florida boater, 39, killed after lightning strikes vessel on Indian River: FWC

Another one of Strong's friend told FOX 35 News that he was working towards becoming a captain. 

This tragedy is a reminder of the dangers of lightning, especially with how quickly storms develop in Florida. Though powerboats like the one Strong piloted don’t often get hit by lightning due to their low profile, the risk is always there. Florida often leads the nation in deaths due to lightning strikes and averaged seven deaths a year.  

"What I really like to say for boaters is to keep aware that the weather is changing constantly," Plaza said. "So have an eye on that, and we’ll save more boaters lives around here."

Strong leaves behind a thirteen-year-old daughter.