Most people would agree that kayak lightning safety is an important issue. Lightning protection is important for a number of reasons, such as the ability to see while in the water and the potential of damage to electronics, especially computers. Kayaks that are outfitted with lighting are often quite desirable and sought after by many kayak adventurers. Unfortunately, being safe and prepared is the most essential aspect of kayak fishing. Keeping yourself and your kayak safe from potential damage and illness depends on a number of different factors. One of the most important of these factors is lightning protection.
Lightning can strike any time of day or night and has the potential to be very dangerous. When you’re kayaking in waters where lightning activity is known to be present, you should pay special attention to the weather conditions around you. If you suspect that bad weather is moving into the area where you’re kayaking, you should prepare yourself for possible lightning safety problems. The best way to ensure that you and your kayak are prepared for potential lightning is to make sure that you have the right lightning protection gear on board. If you’re interested in purchasing some of this gear for recreational use or as a necessary component of your fishing equipment, consider purchasing one of the following options:
This is the most basic of all kayak lightning safety products and is actually a very effective and popular type of product. A thunderstorm cell usually consists of an outer metal casing that protects from the inside by means of a mesh screen. The mesh screen is open at the bottom, allowing the inner metal casing to catch lightning (or any other kind of precipitation) that may threaten to penetrate through and touch the kayak.
The inner metal casing of the thunderstorm cell usually includes a waterproof mesh lining. This mesh is designed to channel run-off and protect the fish from any other precipitation that might affect its performance while in the water. Some models include a flexible weather stripping along the bottom to prevent any build-up of water that can be channeled over the sides of the kayak. If you’re willing to invest in this type of lightning protection, however, it’s very important that you check with your local fishing law to see whether or not it’s legal to use a thunderstorm cell in the area where you intend to fish. Some states, such as New York, actually have laws dictating that anglers must remove their rods when in a storm – although these laws are seldom enforced. In many states, it’s simply not required to remove rods during a thunderstorm – although it is sometimes suggested.
Rod cases offer the next best level of lightning protection for kayaks, because they provide a second layer of protection against precipitation and lightning. Similar to the mesh housing of a thunderstorm cell, rod cases typically include a flexible weather stripping along the bottom to prevent build-up of water that can run off into the kayak. Rod cases differ from the mesh case in that they typically include a side release valve – which allows you to manually release the trapped lightning energy if you become suddenly struck by lightning. This is an important step in kayak lightning safety because it allows you to attempt to divert the bolt of lightning away from your kayak and, in some cases, away from your boat and your fish. (prosecute a strike and it can kill you, or your kayak and your fish.)
Fish finders are an invaluable piece of equipment for anyone who wants to take his kayak out on the water in any storm. The idea behind fish finders is simple: The more lightning you detect on the water, the more chances you have of hitting upon fish or shad – and the more quickly you can get your line in the water so you can grab as much of the catch as possible before they escape into the deeper waters. Fish finders are an essential piece of lightning safety gear, particularly if you plan to fish in regions with large populations of fish.
Lighting is always dangerous – but having a fish finder ensures that you’ll know when you’ve found a good spot to cast your line. This is especially important if you plan to fish offshore of a populated area. The presence of fish finders ensures that you don’t waste your time looking for fish out at sea – you already found the places where there’s likely to be plenty of fish. And being able to look up at the water and see whether you’re close to any structure, dock, or other obstructions means you won’t have to spend all your time just hoping that you spotted something – you can just calmly look up and see for yourself. Lightning protection is the least of your worries when you take your kayak out into the storms.
Kayak lightning safety is something you need to seriously consider even if you’re not fond of the thrill of kayaking in deep water. Lightning strikes are incredibly common and it’s far too easy to forget that you might be in way over your head in one of these storms. Even experienced kayak fishermen make mistakes from time to time and it’s important to be prepared for the worst, even if it means preparing by stocking up on emergency food items and bringing along extra equipment just in case. By thinking through what your options are, however, you can ensure that you can get out safely and that you’ll still end up having a great time enjoying the sport.