We’d never recommend going paddling in a thunderstorm. If the weather looks like it’s going to be stormy, just hang up your paddles and go another day. However, as we know the weather can catch you out by surprise and the weather forecasts aren’t always 100% accurate. So, if you do find yourself out on a paddle and you begin hearing those rumbles of thunder, or the odd strike of lightning looming closer, here’s our top tips for staying safe.
Top tips for staying safe when paddling in a thunderstorm
- Seek shelter in a building or vehicle if possible. This should be your first port of call.
- If you are on water, get to the shore/bank and away from the water as quickly as you can. Water will transmit strikes from further away, so the quicker you can get off the water, the better.
- Leave your paddles and boat by the water’s edge when you get off and prioritise protecting yourself.
- If you find yourself in a situation where you are exposed to the elements with nowhere to shelter, make yourself as small a target as possible. Crouch down with your feet together, hands on knees and your head tucked in. This technique keeps as much of you off the ground as possible and is the safest place to be if you cannot find the shelter you need.
- Finally, when we talk about shelter, don’t shelter beneath tall or isolated trees, it has been estimated that one in four people struck by lightning are sheltering under trees. When we talk about shelter, think about buildings or vehicles in the first instance.
Looking for some more safety advice around paddling in different types of weather conditions? Take a look at our weather article here.