011 486 0979 info@dabulamanzi.co.za

Dabulamanzi Canoe Club (“DCC”) Lightning Policy Statement


The keys to lightning safety are education and prevention. Education begins with learning appropriate lightning safety tips. Prevention of lightning injuries or casualties should begin long before any training, time trial, race or event, coaching or otherwise taking place on Emmarentia Dam whether organised by DCC or informal use of the facilities. This policy will outline lightning safety terminology, procedures, and decision-making policies.

A lightning strike is defined in insurance terms as an ‘Act of God’ and while DCC has no control over how a lightning bolt will strike, we will undertake to put preventative measures in place and to educate the DCC members and other users of the DCC facilities about the dangers of lightning. DCC cannot provide guarantees against injury, death or damage to property and there DCC therefore does not assume any liability in this regard.


This policy governs all canoeing and canoeing related activities taking place on or around the dam under the auspices of DCC.

Monitoring Weather Conditions

All DCC members, committee members, race and event organisers coach and users of the club facilities should check weather reports before any training, time trial, race or event or coaching. Weather apps are available to determine if conditions are favourable for severe weather to develop near Emmarentia Dam. DCC members, committee members, race and event organisers coach and users of the club facilities should be aware of the signs of thunderstorms developing nearby and use the various apps to determine whether use of the facilities in and around the dam are safe.

Thunderstorms can grow from towering, “fluffy” cumulus clouds to lightning producers in as little as (30) thirty minutes. Lightning and thunder activity in the local area are the “alarms” for everyone to begin monitoring thunderstorm activity, such as directions of storm movement and distance to the lightning flashes.

Evacuation Criteria

Flash to Bang Time:

To use Flash to Bang Time- count the seconds from the time lightning is sighted to when the clap of thunder is heard. Divide this number by three (3) to obtain how far away (in kms) the lightning is occurring. (e.g. 30 second count / 3 = 10 km distance). A Flash to Bang Time of thirty (30) seconds or less should dictates the immediate suspension of activities and evacuation of all paddlers and other users of the DCC facilities; they should move to safe area as described below. Once it has been decided to stop an activity, it is strongly recommended that all persons involved wait at least thirty (30) minutes after all lightning and thunder activity has ceased before resuming any activities.

Activity Stoppage:

The decision regarding stoppage of activities is decided upon as follows:

  • Unofficial training/ Sunday Time Trial/ general use of the dam and DCC facilities:
    • It is the responsibility of each paddler and other users of the DCC facilities to decide for themselves using the above information to determine whether they should cease activities on or around the dam;
  • Thursday evening Time Trail:
    • The time keeper or any committee member present will be entitled to require that paddlers get off the water and/ or cease activities around the dam, and declare the time trial abandoned;
  • Official Races and Events:
    • The Race or Event organisers will be entitled to require that activities on the dam should stop and require that paddlers get off the water. In such case the event will be suspended or abandoned.
  • Coaching (Dabulamanzi Canoe Club recognised coach) on the dam:
    • The coach present shall be entitled to determine that activities on the dam require that paddlers get off the water and/ or cease activities around the dam;

In the case of the Thursday evening Time Trial, races or organised events, coaching, the officials, committee members, race or event organisers, coach will use whatever means they deem appropriate to indicate that the dam and surrounding areas should be evacuated. If the siren is available, five (5) short blasts will indicate the suspension of activities.


  • Safe areas include:
    • the clubhouse
    • your motor vehicle with windows up
  • Unsafe areas include:
    • the dam
    • the canoe rack area
    • the area between the clubhouse and the canoe racks.

Emergency Action Plan

If anyone is struck by lightning, the following protocol will be followed:

  • Any person struck by lightning does not carry an electrical charge there is no danger presented to the healthcare provider;
  • Assess the scene to ensure safety for a qualified health care personnel to enter. This may include transporting the victim to a safe environment before initiating first aid procedures;
  • Advising a DCC committee member or secretary of the incident- 011 486 0979.

Whilst this policy provides for the necessary precautions and actions to be taken by canoeists, officials, committee members, race/ event organisers, members are responsible for their own safety as well as their families and friends whilst using the club facilities.

Emergency numbers: 

ER 24 084 124
Johannesburg Ambulance / Hospital Emergency 011 375 5911
Johannesburg Emergency Services 011 375 5911
Netcare 911 082 911

The DCC, its committee members, race and event organisers, coaches or any employees do not accept any responsibility or liability for DCC members and users of the DCC facilities for any lightning incident that may occur at Emmarentia Dam or surrounds.