SailNet Community - View Single Post - Lightning Anyone?
View Single Post
post #21 of Old 03-25-2005
Senior Member
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 399
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 14
Lightning Anyone?

In the summer of 2004 we were in St Pete Florida the capitol of lightning strikes. I had pulled into the Municipal Harbor to the cleanout station and a squal had come in. I was at the wheel and just stood off the dock waiting for the rain and wind to pass. KABOOOOM! my wife was looking out of the companion way at me when it hit. I had just at the exact second turned and without thinking grabbed the back stay to steady myself.It struck a boat shed about twenty yards astern but the branches must have jumped off and hit us. It burned my bare feet and the palm of my hand which was on the backstay. I was not sure if I had ahold of the wheel to or not as I was just sitting at idle.The burns were very minor,the electronics was fried. Every thing on the boat with a printed circuit was zapped and dead or only worked part way. Clock radio had no display but the radio worked. Tv zapped all wind insterments,depth speed ect zapped. Some of the stuff was not plugged in and was still fried.The only possible reason that I was not killed may have been this.We had been in the anchorage and when we pulled the hook a plow it came up with a big wad of mud. Since we were only going agout a mile arount the Pier at St Pete we left the anchor hanging down with maybe six feet of chain from the chock to the shank so the mud would wash off. That could have disipated some of the charge off.I talked to some Navy electronic survalance guys and ask about this and they said that they had hung plates in the water attached to ship masts from chains to take the charge away from the ship. I am thinking about some stainless chain and a couple of round plates so I can just use a d rind to attach them to the stays on both sides of the mast. I am thinking a circle of about 18inches across on a piece of chain long enouhg to get the plate at the same depth as the led or cast iron keel. a piece of thin wall clear plastic tube to keep the chain off the hull. This may or may not help but it makes it a little more grounded.Boats in salt water get hit less than boats in fresh water was something I found out. I don''t know how much being plugged into shore power helps if at all. I worked on a three story house in Colorado quite a few years back as a plumbing contractor. The lightning had struck th roof above the peoples daughters bed. It blew a three foot hole through the roof through the bed went through the floor lifting the hard wood about three inches hit the copper plumbing and blew the fixtures off the wall in two bathrooms ruptured the hotwater tank in the garage and set the place on fire. No one was home luckey for them becaause the daughter spent allot of time sitting on the bed yacking to her gitlfriends on the phone that was melted on a night stand.
sailnaway is offline  
Quote Share with Facebook
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome