Lightning scenario.... - Mountain Buzz

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Old 04-22-2010   #1
CBrown's Avatar
Evergreen, Colorado
Paddling Since: '92
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Lightning scenario....

So your on the river in the dense woods somewhere, lightning and thunder are all around you.

Do you

-paddle hard and hope for the best?

-get out and stand amongst the trees?

-stay in the middle of the river away from tall trees?

Also, what happens if lightning strikes the water a short distance from you while you are in your boat? Does being in your boat provide any protection?

"We're gonna need a bigger boat"
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Old 04-22-2010   #2
no tengo
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Baytopia, Colorado
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a plastic kayak or raft is an insulator and therefore good protection against charge building up. you are not the tallest object as well. stay the course.
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Old 04-22-2010   #3
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Boulder, Colorado
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You'll be fine. Keep paddling.

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Old 04-22-2010   #4
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Buena Vista, Colorado
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I believe I saw this thread once before...I experienced it once (got under an overhanging rock on the water and tried to wait it out, only to boat out in near darkness with hail, lightning, and major flash flood debris), I would say paddle hard, stay low, and get to the takeout asap.
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Old 04-22-2010   #5
North Bend, Washington
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Funny, I just got my Wilderness First Aid Instr cert and this came up. Basically: stay low, out of caves or outcroppings, away from trees and hope for the best. Also- stay spaced out from one another instead of bunching up in a group.

Finally, a wet boat is not an insulator. Wet is wet and if the water is hit near you - you will get zapped.

But if you hear banjo music- then by all means- paddle faster!
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Old 04-22-2010   #6
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Denver, Colorado
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If you're in a canyon of any depth whatsoever, the lightning will hit at the top of the gorge, not the bottom where the river flows. Paddle on and enjoy the light show!
I've a suggestion to keep you all occupied...learn to swim!
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Old 04-22-2010   #7
Missoula, Montana
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Strap your fly-rod to an oar and raise it up to the gods, see if they smite you.
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Old 04-22-2010   #8
thornton, Colorado
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I would stay in the raft and press on if you have to pull over I would pick a sandy area and stay in the raft. Stay away from rock walls(caves etc.) or very tall trees. Lightning is attracted to metal and carbon fiber products. My jet was hit by lightning once and scared the shit out of me.
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Old 04-23-2010   #9
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Also, if you're going to get off the water, get well away from it...lightning strikes can travel up wet sand, mud, clay, dirt, (rock?) banks for a good 20-30 feet. Near the water is probably one of the more dangerous places to be. That said, either paddle it out, or pull WAY up onto shore.
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Old 04-23-2010   #10
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Westminster, Colorado
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I don't think the heavy stuff is gonna come down for a while I'd paddle through!
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