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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Boat Review and Purchase Forum > Lightning Strike
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Thread: Lightning Strike Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
03-08-2011 12:03 PM
RichH Ive been hit three times on different boats Ive owned.
It all depends on
.... if the lightning was an amperage event - blowing large chunks out of the keel / hull (starburst cracks, etc.) / throughhulls, etc. (once)
.... OR Radio Frequency RF events .... just the electronics fried (once)
... or a combo of both plus all the wiring also gets melted (once).

A boat in my marina got hit ... and the only evidence of the strike (besides the missing VHF antenna) was that the ALL the underwater surfaces of the inside hull were 'sweating' ... from a zillion macroscopic holes.

Like another poster stated .... advise the surveyor AND the insurance carrier. Of course when you buy, make the boat acceptance subject to passing survey.
03-08-2011 12:43 AM
jfurlong My "80 Hunter 30 was hit by lightning while in the slip on Lake Michigan about 13 years ago. It took out the radio, depth sounder, knot meter and every bulb in all of the running lights.. The masthead antennae was charred to a cinder. The wiring was left intact. There were a few strange phenomena; a book in the main salon leaning against a chainplate bolt had a pinhole burned through the cover. Aside from the damage to the instruments, no other damage occurred or has been found in the intervening years.
03-07-2011 10:54 PM
rmeador I'd say if you talk to your insurance company and they're OK with insuring a boat that was once struck by lightning (and get them to put in writing that they know this, and they will not exclude any damage that is discovered later due to the strike), then buy it! If it has pinholes or something that the survey missed, the insurance will pay to have it fixed. But more than likely, it will be uninsurable... do you want to have an uninsured boat?
03-07-2011 10:27 PM
bellefonte
carbon tracks

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomperanteau View Post
Also look for carbon tracks.
What do these look like and what do they mean?
03-07-2011 10:23 PM
bellefonte
suppose

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
No, I really am not sure how to survey a boat for that type of damage. This is one reason a lot of boats are TL'd after a major lightning strike.
So, I suppose that pin holes would just be leaks?
03-07-2011 09:46 PM
sailingdog
Quote:
Originally Posted by bellefonte View Post
Sailingdog,
Is there a way to know what the damage is? Pin holes may be hard to find. Im sure a normal survey wouldnt find these things. What do you suggest?
No, I really am not sure how to survey a boat for that type of damage. This is one reason a lot of boats are TL'd after a major lightning strike.
03-07-2011 09:25 PM
tomperanteau Also look for carbon tracks.
03-07-2011 09:04 PM
bellefonte
curios

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
Be aware that there could be a lot of other damage, aside from the electrical system. Damage to the hull, including pinholes, delamination, damage to the through-hulls, etc., are all possible.

Re-wiring a boat is a pretty labor intensive thing, and there isn't any way to give you a rough ballpark without knowing what you're installing, and even then, you're going to have a pretty wide range.
Sailingdog,
Is there a way to know what the damage is? Pin holes may be hard to find. Im sure a normal survey wouldnt find these things. What do you suggest?
03-07-2011 08:54 PM
sailingdog Be aware that there could be a lot of other damage, aside from the electrical system. Damage to the hull, including pinholes, delamination, damage to the through-hulls, etc., are all possible.

Re-wiring a boat is a pretty labor intensive thing, and there isn't any way to give you a rough ballpark without knowing what you're installing, and even then, you're going to have a pretty wide range.
03-07-2011 08:40 PM
paulk We've had two friends whose boats have been hit by lightning with them aboard: a Beneteau 36.7 and a Bristol 35.5 All the electronics were entirely fried on both boats, and the ceramic antenna on the Bristol's masthead melted. No one was hurt on either boat. As a precaution, I think the Bristol's owner replaced all his through-hulls. A witness claimed that the Bristol "glowed" after being hit, and the police had expected to find bodies when they went out to check. If the hull of your Lafitte passes inspection, it may be an opportunity to get a great deal on new electronics. Both boats are still being happily used by their owners.
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