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  good basic advice here
  Posted by: willowleaf on Jul-02-11 10:41 AM (EST)
 

this link gives some basics.

http://www.canoe-kayak.org/pages/how5.html

Lightning is complex and frivolous. The notion that it will ALWAYS go for the highest object around is not true. I saw a fellow camper get knocked to the ground by a lightning strike as he was walking ahead of me on a wide path between lines of tall pine trees. (he was stunned but not badly hurt). I've read first person accounts of people paddling in deep gorges being struck. And in the mountains, it may enter overhangs and caves rather than higher adjacent ridgelines. If I was trapped too far offshore to make it to land within reasonable time I would stash my regular paddle, grab my short wooden storm paddle for bracing, and fold myself as low over the foredeck as I could until I could judge by sound and light timing that the storm was passing by. If I could make it to an open beach I would quickly exit the boat, crouch to drag it above the surf line and then remove my PFD and crouch on it with my head down until the storm passed. MOuntaineering safety courses advise people to do the same thing with their backpacks (crouch on them) if caught in the open or on an exposed slope. This is to insulate you from ground currents.

And electrocution hazards (including from stray currents at badly grounded docks and marina structures) are more likely on fresh than salt water. Salt water is more conductive so it is a more attractive path to ground for current than a human body.

BTW, many people don't realize that carbon fiber is electrically conductive like metal so be aware what your paddles and helmets are made of.

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