Most of the two to three hours waiting for the storm to pass over was spent in some hilarity, discussing just what we should be doing to protect ourselves from a lightning strike. In hindsight, after a quick refresher once I got home, we got some things right, but a few key things wrong.
- Get off the water as soon as possible. Don’t worry that you haven’t reached your campsite or got back to the put in. Lightning commonly strikes the tallest object – out on the water, that’s you, sitting in your kayak.
- Get off the beach and head inland – lightning has a canny way of striking the land where beach and water meet.
- Leave your paddle with your boat – quite a nifty wee lightning rod, that paddle.
- When inland, head for the lowest sheltered area you can find.
- Sheltering under a grove of trees is fine – just don’t stand under a lone tree as, once again, lightning commonly strikes the tallest object.
- Crouch down and try to minimize your contact with the ground – keep your feet together and head down low.
- Spread well out if you're in a group so if one of you gets hit, others can administer CPR. If you’re all huddling together the risk is you all get knocked unconscious.
- Wait at least 30 minutes after the storm’s over before heading back out.
If anyone else has some sound advice, I’d appreciate hearing about it!PHOTO: NOAA Photo Library, NOAA Central Library; OAR/ERL/National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL)