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Old 04-23-2010   #11
no tengo
mania's Avatar
Baytopia, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1876
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,768
Originally Posted by Kendi View Post
Finally, a wet boat is not an insulator. Wet is wet and if the water is hit near you - you will get zapped.
okay good point that water is not an insulator but.. when lightning strikes it's due to a buildup of charge in the ground and then the electric field gets too strong for air to insulate and you get a spark albeit a large one. still I say charge is unlikely to buildup around a moving plastic boat with a little water on it.

one of the safest places to be is inside a metal sphere (a car will do) since electric fields cannot exist on the inside of a conductor, only the surface (see Maxwells Laws).

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Old 04-23-2010   #12
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1982
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 6
Stay on the river and keep moving. I was guiding through Browns canyon one afternoon, when a storm moved in. Just above Big Drop lightning struck a tree right beside the river. For days after, I would show my peeps that tree, and then realized that almost every tree in that area had been struck.

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Old 04-23-2010   #13
yakrafter's Avatar
Whitewater Boater, Boating Whitewater
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 147
Best not to worry, but the odds are likely with you if you:

Are not out in the open (the middle of the river) (my situation the 1st time I was struck)
Are not in the water (it is still a huge flowing conductor and your boat is still pretty thin, there are often still water electrical paths for any boater in the water)
Are not under that outcropping with flowing water going over you (my situation the 2nd time I was struck)
Are away from things likely to get hit and/or fall on you (trees).
Are kneeling, not lying down, legs together, feet together, arms in tight, making a low ball of your body connected to the ground.
Are not anywhere near me.

I call bullshit on not being hit down in a canyon, there are many reasons this could happen, saturated soils, rock layers with higher conductivity, I have seen lightling strike on the landscape many times where you would not expect it...downhill from the grounded tower, etc.

Many hits involve already disbursed current and just become good fireside stories. I have met many people that have been struck, 2 within a day of my 1st strike.

I now carry a instaportasphere in my pocket (kind of like a fire shelter), check it at
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Old 04-23-2010   #14
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 212
Ask a meteorologist dude, not a bunch of rafters and kayakers. I know enough to know that I don't know shit about how lightening really works. It's complex. Read the science and get some facts, make your own judgements.
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Old 04-23-2010   #15
Hesperus, Colorado
Paddling Since: New
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 8
Don't believe everything online. Like one said water is a conductor, and while sailing a 16' hobie cat lighting struck water and while not a major charge a zap sure was felt on the the tiller. 2nd on line false hood lighting does not always strike the the highest object! Most lighting strike forest fires are started 2/3 the way up a hill not on top. I do know for sure the wives tale of if you hair stands up you better haul ass is a true statement!!!!!
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Old 04-24-2010   #16
thornton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1969
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 600
I have not been struck by lightning but when climbing the Diamond on Longs Peak with a fast moving thunderstorm approaching my hair on my head, arms, and legs stood up. I could hear my carabiners vibrating in the pitons and smell ozone in the air. Not a good situation to be in. I was wet, had all this metal slung around my shoulder with a wet rope leading to my private parts at about 13,000 ft. on a rain soaked mountain. When I started to read the thunderstorm safety hand book it scared me so bad ( it said I was fuc#k ) I shit canned it and never looked at another one.

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