Thursday, July 30, 2015

Kayaks and Lightning

This picture is making the rounds on the Interwebs again, supposedly showing the remains of a kayak that was struck by lightning. I'm pretty sure that this kayak was not struck by lightning, but rather is the victim of a fire. There's what looks to be a gasoline-powered compressor at the far end of the dock, the deck is charred but not exploded apart which what one might expect if lightning struck the dock, and the smoldering deck fire was stopped on the right side by a garden hose. It's possible, of course, that the initial source of the fire was a lightning strike, but I believe this kayak succumbed to the fire, not lightning.
Regardless of the lineage of this photo, it does serve as a good reminder of lightning safety when it comes to kayaking. Getting struck by lightning is rare, and getting struck by lightning in a kayak is even rarer. But it does, unfortunately, happen, sometimes with fatal results. In our part of the world, we might get one or two thunderstorms a year, if that, so lightning safety is something that is rarely considered here.
Some good tips can be found at the Newburyport Kayak Report, and at The most important tip is, of course, check the weather forecast before heading out.

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