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Your boat could be acting as a "bridge" between two other boats, or between a "hot" boat and some other ground. This can be a problem if your underwater fittings are all bonded together; the electrical path through you boat's bonding system will have less resistance than the surrounding seawater.
You might be able to detect a bit of voltage by using a multimeter and some long probe wires. Put one wire in the water at the bow of the boat, and one in the water at the stern and connected the multimeter between them (using its most sensitive setting). Check for both AC and DC voltage. Try the same thing with the wires on either side of the boat. Alternatively, you can find a convenient place in the bonding system to insert the multimeter and look for voltage that way (but you may just get a reading from the galvanic potential between dissimilar metals in the circuit).
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Last edited by SlowButSteady; 06-13-2011 at 05:43 PM.