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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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  #11  
Old 09-04-2012
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Re: Boy killed by lightning in our anchorage, what would you do?

Quote:
Originally Posted by fallard View Post
My boat has had 2 lightning strikes over a 10 year period and I was glad my policy covered equipment replacement without depreciation. Not all policies--including BoatUS, last time I checked--would pay for full replacement.
Two lightning strikes in the past 10 years? Am very curious as to what lightning protection/grounding systems you employ, if any.
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  #12  
Old 09-04-2012
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Re: Boy killed by lightning in our anchorage, what would you do?

I personally don't stand in water or hold golf clubs in the air during electrical storms.
I don't pee on cow fences or jam knives in electrical outlets either.
This is just common sense and that boy might still be alive if he was not in the water.
That being said that family was struck point blank and lightning is unpredictable.
There was no negligence on their part as they bet they could get to shore and under cover before lightning hit. They bet wrong is all.


For lightning protection I use a tin foil hat and a magic fuzzy ball at the masthead.

Last edited by ParadiseParrot; 09-04-2012 at 02:59 PM.
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Old 09-04-2012
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Re: Boy killed by lightning in our anchorage, what would you do?

I got a follow-up question to all you folks in the know... I have a deck stepped mast, on a trailerable boat. I am not an electrical newb, having an EE background, but mathmatically speaking "cone" notwithstanding, I don't think it'd be pleasant to be on a boat struck by lightning grounded, but ungrounded as is the case on my boat, particularly unpleasant (thinking holing the boat to get to the keel for grounding).

I know of no grounding between my chainplates, and my keel, therefore in freshwater as I am and mine being the tallest mast in our club (or one of them), I figure my boat is MOST likely to get struck. I've considered running a heavy gauge wire from my chainplates to my keelbolts. Anyone ever considered this "special case?" Is the freshwater neutral enough that lightning will avoid masts on freshwater, and prefer a tree?

PS: I've always been told that a keel stepped masted sailboat was safer than being on shore/beach/near trees in a storm. These pop-up t-storms can come up quick and wondered if there was a "procedure" or preventative that can help prevent a tragedy.
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Last edited by SHNOOL; 09-04-2012 at 04:35 PM.
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Old 09-04-2012
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Re: Boy killed by lightning in our anchorage, what would you do?

Even though it was "fresh" water, it still conducts. And when lightning is about one of the rules is STAY OUT OF WATER because any strike in your area, will spread through the water and that's going to hurt or kill anyone in it.

Opinions about lightning safety vary, but storms rarely just happen.

The most productive thing might be to wait a while, and then hold some lightning safety classes. Including the most basic one: If the sky is gray and the forecast, which you DID listen to, call for storms? GTF off the water. Now, not later.

Some docks also keep a weather radio going all day, at the dockhouse, for the benefit of folks who have showed up without checking the weather. That's not expensive either.
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Re: Boy killed by lightning in our anchorage, what would you do?

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Originally Posted by SHNOOL View Post
I got a follow-up question to all you folks in the know... I have a deck stepped mast, on a trailerable boat. I am not an electrical newb, having an EE background, but mathmatically speaking "cone" notwithstanding, I don't think it'd be pleasant to be on a boat struck by lightning grounded, but ungrounded as is the case on my boat, particularly unpleasant (thinking holing the boat to get to the keel for grounding).
.

Ungrounded or not There is no real proof either way as to safety.

A lighting bolt with several million volts does not act the same as 12 dc.

What there is proof of is the Faraday Cage Principle.

You are unlikely to get physical hurt sitting down inside a FG boat especially with an alum mast. But Lightening strikes are each unique and unpredictable.
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Old 09-18-2012
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Re: Boy killed by lightning in our anchorage, what would you do?

What about steel sailboat?? if your inside would they act as a giant faraday cage? and if your on the outside of the boat? would the electricity run through the hole boat or hit the mast, shroud and stays and then use the shortest path to water??

Pierre
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Old 10-04-2012
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Re: Boy killed by lightning in our anchorage, what would you do?

Here is a quote that I find quite interesting and pretty much sums my analysis of the question at hand.
Quote:
have a friend who survey's boats for a living and was previously in the boat repair business. His exact comment to me was I would never tell a client to ground his boat. So I asked him - "so you advise against it" and he replied " I would never tell a client not to ground a boat." He said he defers the question becuase its too much of a liability.
Same would go for the Stay in the Boat or get to shore.
Myself I stay in the grounded boat in spite of and because of the grounded boat having the same potential as the water.
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Old 10-04-2012
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Re: Boy killed by lightning in our anchorage, what would you do?

Quote:
Originally Posted by fallard View Post
... My boat has had 2 lightning strikes over a 10 year period ...

Jesus, that is not really very bad luck? Strikes on boats are common there?

This year in Greece I made acquaintance with a Scottish couple on a cat that had been hit on the beginning of this year. They repaired the boat on Cleopatra marina that is a big marina, not on the water but on land, I mean that’s the place where many sailors leave the boat for winter and they had said that in many years they had only another boat hit by lightning.

Regards

Paulo
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Old 10-04-2012
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Re: Boy killed by lightning in our anchorage, what would you do?

I'm of the non-bonded school of thought, I do disconnect my VHF antenna and have everyone stay inside.
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Old 10-04-2012
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Re: Boy killed by lightning in our anchorage, what would you do?

Ok..we were side sturck by lightning this summer on a mooring in Back Creek Annapolis surrounded by 900 other sailboats. Our boat is grounded to a plate on the hull. The lightening hit a water tower next to us...came through the water up the shaft, melted the Yanmar engine panel, traveled through the engine ground back into the panel, Indescriminately fried instruments ( chartplotter, depthfinder, red LED in two way ficxtures shore charger, VHF ram mike, went up the mast, blew off the windex and wind instrument and hopped to the mast of the sailboat moored next to us. When the charged hit the panel in the cabin there was a blinding ball flash, our hair stood up, oozone smell. I pad, Mobile VHF, TV anannne and radar, white LED in two way fixtures were not affected. All in a milli second. We are bonded and have one of those burr things on the mast top.

1 million volts will go where it wants...give it a path out so it doesnt blow a hole through something looking for it. Can you prevent from being hit. Yes...dont own a sailboat. You can maybe incvrease your odds, but there are no sure remedies or cloaking devices here.

Dave
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