EMC Question of the Week: June 21, 2021

Bow of an aluminum canoe

You're in an aluminum canoe in the middle of a large lake when a thunderstorm approaches. To protect yourself from lightning, you should   

  1. row towards shore
  2. swim towards shore
  3. turn the canoe over and get under it
  4. lie down flat in the canoe


The best answer is “a.” The middle of a lake is not a particularly great place to be during a thunderstorm. It's best to find shelter as soon as possible. 

The worst place to be during a thunderstorm is in the water. If lightning strikes the water, current flowing outward from the point of the strike can kill or momentarily paralyze anyone in the water resulting in drowning.

Lying flat in the canoe won't get you to a shelter, and doesn't significantly alter your chances of be struck by lightning. Also, lying flat on a conductive surface is usually not the safest position to be in during a thunderstorm.

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