Lightning when far out

What is the best action to take when you are far out from shore during a crossing, and a spontaneous surprise thunderstorm develops with lightning right upon you?

(not a typical approaching storm where you can estimate the distance and direction, not even mentioned on a weather alert on NOAA weather)

Not much you can do…
but paddle like hell and hope you make it.

well I would
catch up on my regretting not getting that cabon shaft paddle.


– Last Updated: Aug-12-05 9:39 AM EST –

Glows RED HOT when an electric current is applied....

Test: strip the wood from 1 inch of 2 each number two wooden pencils...attach copper wires to each pencil lead, and wrap the other ends of the wires to the posts on a 12 volt complete the circuit by touching the two ends of the pencil together.....current will make the carbon (Graphite) glow RED HOT...

red hot
so much for my attempt at humor…

Hey, I got it!
And, yes, I own a Carbon paddle and have been really glad when hearing thunder in the distance! Love those marathon paddles back to shore…NOT! Although, we’ve had the canoes crankin’ pretty good. Faster, faster, says the 8-year old.

Yep, you’re toast
There’s nothing you can do about the lightning at that point, but the greater danger in that situation would be the winds and waves with the storm.

Distributor cap
You can remove a distrubutor cap on an ignition system that has one and draw a pencil line between the points. The engine won’t start.

Paddling buddy…
…thats what a paddling buddy is for.

Simply distract him, affix a metal rod to the back of his boat, then tell him to take the lead and keep him at least 100 yards ahead of you!!

Ok, Ok, thats not nice!!

I know you don’t want to be the highest profile target in the area, so don’t use a high paddle shaft angle!! Sort of like holding a high follow-through on a golf swing during a lightning storm.

The type of storm you’re talking about happens inland. Stay close to shore when paddling on hot summer days when thunderheads can develop.

Thunderheads don’t suddenly appear with no warning BTW. They will be preceded by cirrus clouds which blow off the tops. Even well I’m at the bottom of a canyon I can tell if storm clouds are approaching by staying alert to the signs.

Simply put up your lightning rod. :slight_smile:
Make sure it is taller than you by about a foot and is connected directly to a foot square copper plate on the hull of your boat by no. 8 wire. Seriously, there is really nothing to do but paddle fast for the nearest land.

RED hot eh?
Well, I guess I should start packing a couple oven mitts… just in case of lightening.

Sh*t happens
Not much you could do other than try to reach land quickly.

The book “Disasters in Yellowstone” includes a chapter on water disasters that will make you realize that risk can only be reduced, not eliminated. The author describes an oddity in which a boater was struck by a bolt of lightning from a cloudless blue sky. No known cause for the lightning’s occurrence.

Advantage: Canoes
over kayaks. Why?

You may already be kneeling in the praying position.


of course not …
drawing a pencil line is not the same as that resistance created by the ignition wire, which has a greater carbon diameter, and a casing/cover.

Here in
Huntsville, Al, we have tall thunderclouds almost every day during the summer. Even during the drought season. Around here, thunderclouds don’t necessarily mean rain. Except when they do. Or not.

In the olden days
not so long ago carbon arc lamps were commonly used for things like movie projectors and spot lights. They hasve since been replaced by enclosed metal arc lamps, but may soon make a comeback due to concerns about mercury pollution from the metal arc lamps

I find it helpful and safe to…
always paddle with really tall people who paddle sot’s and use a carbon paddle of least 240 cm. Better yet, get two really tall people who paddle an aluminum canoe to join you. That way they can look down on you for a good reason (for you anyway) and you will be able to happily smile at them knowing canoes can/do serve a purpose. Who said canoes aren’t great to have around. Franklin

Well, if you make it to shore, at least
it will be easier for them to spot your charred remains.

Seriously, folks, if you are in a thunderSTORM, your first worry will be the wind and the waves. Probably you will not be struck by lightning.

a small not controlable risk

– Last Updated: Aug-13-05 8:21 AM EST –

and another reason to have a fast boat,

All you can do is check the radio, look around you, study weather in advance learn patterns in general and for your area, and take your chances.

Type of paddle is no big deal, if the hit is close it's all over anyway.