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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related) > Affect of lightning in open water
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Thread: Affect of lightning in open water Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
11-06-2010 01:30 PM
Boasun The Math guys figure that being struck by lightening is about 5,000:1.
But when you have billions of people on this earth, well you don't want to be the 5k person in the count as they start with #1 after they got to 5k.
Because that is about 1,375,940 people a year being struck by lightening. Using 6,879,700,000 for the population in 2009 for now.
In fact the odds of being struck by lightening is better then winning that BIG Lottery which is about 7,000,000:1. Dang-it.
11-05-2010 08:56 PM
CalebD Mostly inshore electrical storms, some pretty bad, no hits. During one storm some crew members reported a hair raising, prickling sensation of static electricity in their skin.
I've been lucky so far. Lightning is quite fickle and unpredictable. Your chances of being struck out on the ocean may actually be lower then when near a land mass because there is so much of nothing but ocean out there. OTOH, your mast may (or may not) attract a strike since there is nothing else taller around.
11-05-2010 06:57 PM
Boasun As posted in the other lightening site about that bottle brush:
With all the years that I have sailed and all the boats & ships I have been on, I've only been struck once by lightening.
It hit the SSB antenna blew out the Antenna coupler and the SSB before it went to ground through the SSB's grounding strap. All that was worth saving was the carasses of those two elements.
This was a steel hulled boat so we weren't worried about anything. All the other electronics were operational and not harmed.
But all the time I have been out there and had lightening strikes all around and that was the only one.
But if you put a lightening rod or one of those bottle brushes on your mast. Be damn sure that it is well grounded to a solid grounding plate on the keel. That way you won't blow out your electronics. Unless the hit is on an antenna that is.
In fact have everything well grounded to that grounding plate
11-05-2010 06:45 PM
SoftJazz Was out once, coming back to home port & the fleet got caught in a massive high winds storm with more lightning than most people are comfortable seeing at one time. We did not get hit, but several strikes were awfully close by. It didn't appear to have hurt our electronics.
11-05-2010 09:32 AM
SimonV Have been once (open water AND lightning hitting water) and DID get hit.
Indirectly causing the high frequencys on the HF to burn out.
11-05-2010 09:01 AM
lancelot9898 Over the past 25 years I've had two near misses. One was while at anchor and the other was in the marina. The marina miss took out more electronics, but the one item affected both times was the atomatic antenna tunner for the SSB. I've been in open water during thunderstorms and had no problems or had any near misses. One time comeing back into port at night with thunderstorms and wind happening, I even wanted to see lightening in order to see any anchored boats that might be in my path.
11-05-2010 08:42 AM
LarryandSusanMacDonald We've been close enough more than once but not 'many' times to feel the hair on our bodies stand up. Have seen it hit the water closer than a quarter of a mile, more than once. Once we were at anchor on the Bahama banks - 12 feet of water and out of sight of land. It's a bit unnerving setting next to what is essentially a 55 foot lightning rod with lightning hitting all around. We were lucky.
11-04-2010 12:07 PM
PorFin
Quote:
Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
When confronted with this situation, we routinely put our portable GPSMap 76 in the Oven of our stove in hopes that it will survive any EMP effects.
Same here. The oven becomes a makeshift Faraday cage for not only a handheld GPS, but also the handheld VHF, cellphones, laptop, etc. It gets a little cramped in there, but we make everything fit. So far we've never had lightning stikes close enough to prove the efficacy of the oven as a Faraday cage, but it can't hurt and may make a life saving difference.
11-04-2010 09:16 AM
svHyLyte We have been at sea several (tho' not "Many") times during lightning storms with water strikes around us. It scared the heck out of us but we were lucky. Never the less, even a near by strike is enough to screw up electronics--e.g. we've had to replace our wind instrument mast head unit several times due to near misses. When confronted with this situation, we routinely put our portable GPSMap 76 in the Oven of our stove in hopes that it will survive any EMP effects.

FWIW...
11-04-2010 07:33 AM
radovix Out of Norfolk

Lost autopilot, radio and echo sounder.

2000$ damage.

No one was hurt
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