View topic - What to do in case of lightning when paddling?

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PostPosted: July 8th, 2019, 2:52 pm 
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Has anyone got an authoritative answer? A little Googling suggests that it would have to strike within a matter of yards to hurt you in a canoe..but as the tallest thing on the water, you're more likely to get a direct hit...unless you paddle near the trees on shore. Or, you could get off the water, but don't huddle under the trees because the tallest one is most likely to get hit, and the current will travel through the network of roots.

The closest I could find to a recommended strategy was to paddle within the shadow of the trees (if the shore is forested!), but there seems to be some controversy as to whether that shadow is at a 45 degree or 30 degree angle.

Is there a "best strategy"? Thanks


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PostPosted: July 8th, 2019, 4:56 pm 
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Well since lightning can strike 16 k away from the storm.
If you can get off the water, if not follow the track of the storm and take the best evasive action you can and follow the lightning protocols.
Why take the risk?
https://news.nationalgeographic.com/new ... lightning/
I have had lightning strike a few times while on river trips within a few hundred metres and that was close enough thank you.
Jeff

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PostPosted: July 8th, 2019, 8:27 pm 
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Best to get off the water and wait it out. Sure there are safety risks to being in the forest during a lighting storm but much lower than being on the lake.


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PostPosted: July 8th, 2019, 8:32 pm 
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Is there a paddling equivalent of the golfing strategy of holding a one iron over your head in a lightning storm because even God can't hit a one iron?


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PostPosted: July 9th, 2019, 7:59 am 
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https://www.theweathernetwork.com/ca/news/article/explained-lightning-strikes-sailboat-and-sends-sparks-flying


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PostPosted: July 10th, 2019, 7:05 am 
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If the lightning is a safe distance away, stay on the water and enjoy the show... here's a recent thunderstorm pic. Driving on a back road...I wasn't lucky enough to be paddling on a large lake at the time with that going on, and I wasn't lucky enough to photograph any bolts of lightning below the storm. Probably wouldn't be too safe paddling in Algonquin.



Image

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PostPosted: July 10th, 2019, 7:51 am 
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What you do may have a lot to do with who you are paddling with.
If you are leading a group, espeicially a youth group you will have to follow known protocols.
People have different fear levels and your reputation could be at risk, especially in today's social media world.
Which means if you are the leader they know what you are going to do in the event of said storm coming at you.
Also you can not mess around with storms in North Western Ontario they are infamous for how bad they can be.
Have I ever stayed out for pics or just to watch, yes on solo ones and I have managed to get a good shot but it is tough and well not the brightest thing to be hanging around as the storm apporaches.
I have only one really good shot of lightning and I will continue to try and get more, but you always have to respect the weather.
Link to lighting image at The "Bears Den" Devils Tower waiting for the alien ship to lift off 8)
Converted to B&W
https://photos.app.goo.gl/VYfW6PuvizVyDUZM7
Jeff

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PostPosted: July 13th, 2019, 7:52 pm 
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Sorry, but I don't feel like I'm much closer to a definition of those protocols. The prevailing assumption is something like "if you're within 16 km of a lightning storm, get off the water", but I haven't found a rationale behind that.

I have however found what Cliff Jacobson has to say in "Canoeing and Camping, Beyond the Basics". I'll try to attach it for your reading pleasure, but in summary: if there's something tall on the shoreline (trees, cliff), stay on the water within 2-3 canoe lengths. If there's not....he doesn't say, but we know you don't want to be the tallest thing around, or be close to that thing.


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PostPosted: July 14th, 2019, 7:37 am 
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Yes I was going to ask - what are "lightning protocols"?

I think you didn't get an answer p4p because you seemed to suggest you wanted to stay on the water.

But I'd like to know what to do as well. We've been there and gotten off the water. But what next? I hear some groups tell people to spread out with 10 meters between them - basically so if there is a strike it doesn't take everyone out I guess?

What are lightning protocols?


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PostPosted: July 14th, 2019, 7:41 am 
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also just noticed this is in an "Ontario" forum. Not sure if there is an admin around who can move it to a more appropriate forum ...


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PostPosted: July 14th, 2019, 8:47 am 
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There is the 30-second rule where if you see flashes of lightning and it takes more than 30 seconds for the thunder to reach you, you're safe. That's something like more than 10 km away IIRC. The storm photo I posted above might have shown the T-storm about 50 km away and the thunder wasn't audible.

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PostPosted: July 19th, 2019, 2:42 pm 
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Anybody remember "Mr. Canoehead"? https://youtu.be/cnhCghc4wHU

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PostPosted: July 19th, 2019, 3:00 pm 
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Yup.
Fondly remember the Frantics
...and that i the real reason why I'll never chose to paddle a Grumman.

Bruce


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