While I have seen the aftermath of boats being hit by lightning, I have never actually witnessed one first hand until Friday.
In over 25 years I have lived in Florida I have seen some pretty good thunderstorms. This Friday I saw the mother of all lightning storms. The storm rolled in about 3:30 pm, I was watching it on the radar in the office and talking to a boat on the vhf. The lightning started and was all around the marina. There was a close strike about every 30 seconds. I watched the main pier get hit, the south mooring field take at least 2 hits. The shipyard just south of us took a couple. This was going on for what seemed like an hour, but was actually about 20 minutes. When BAM!!! A bolt of lightning hit a ketch about 150 yards away form my office. It looked like someone was welding on top of the mast. Sparks were flying down over the boat, making the mast look like a giant Fourth of July sparkler. I could hear a buzzing, crackling sound during the strike.
I knew a lady and young son were aboard, and tried to call them on her cell phone, as the storm wasn't even close to letting up. No answer.
I started shutting down the computers in the office, and praying, when my cell phone started ringing. It was the lady, she and her son were OK. Thank God.
She said her hair was standing up and sort of tingly right before the strike. She went on to say that it was like a machine gun going off inside the boat. Every light bulb exploded and threw glass all over the cabin.
Yesterday we checked the boat and found what was left of the VHF antenna. It seemed all the thru- hulls were OK, but all the electronics were fried, all the appliances that were plugged in were fried. The most important thing was nobody was hurt. Just needed a trip to the laundromat to wash their underwear.
The owner had bonded the boat just last year, grounding plates the works.
Does bonding work? Still can't say. Lightning is gonna do what it's gonna do.