Boy killed by lightning in our anchorage, what would you do? - Page 4 - SailNet Community

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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.

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Old 11-15-2012
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Re: Boy killed by lightning in our anchorage, what would you do?

If you've ever read the publicly available papers on what "military grade hardened" electronics and systems are, you would understand why no one can afford to put them on a boat. Check out what is needed to "EM harden" a building, you'd have to build a submarine to do it to your boat.

Similarly, why not ground the rudder? Uh, because it is already "grounded" by being fully submerged in the water. Unless you want to run a cable down to an earth anchor grounding rod, that job is already done.

Lightning protection works frequently but never completely. Check out PolyPhaser and install one in your antenna line to protect your VHF. But it won't protect your antenna, antennas are sacrificial parts. If you want to protect the antenna, you submerge the boat before the storm. Honest, that's how it is done.
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Old 01-15-2013
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Re: Boy killed by lightning in our anchorage, what would you do?

Lightning kills as it passes thru critical tissue, ie the heart and vital organs, fortunately because of its high frequency it is more likely to flash over the body, verses entering and exiting. Many time it's victims are burned at the skin level, their clothes shredded off and they survive.
Any electricity, even small amount can kill if it passes through and disrupts normal heart rhythm. Other tissue is cooked to the point of failure.
The best defense is to avoid, but if you can't avoid, there are things you can do to increase you chances of survival. The MOST beneficial thing would be to crouch, with you ankles touching and not hold with a hand hold. This makes you the lowest possible target, and by keeping you ankles together will allow the difference of potential to be confined to the feet and not travel through the legs. The current, if it is radiating will travel up a foot, cross at the contact point of the ankles, an exit the other foot. Remember, electricity is's only goal is to get to ground, the best and easiest way it can.
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Old 09-30-2013
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Re: Boy killed by lightning in our anchorage, what would you do?

Lightning scares the hell out of me, but if I stayed ashore every time "scattered thunderstorms" are predicted around Cape Cod in the summer, I'd never sail. I have never been struck, so can't guarantee this works, but fastening one end of heavy-duty jumper cables to the inboard backing plate of my sloop's chain plates, and the other end to the keel bolts, would seem to provide a good temporary solution. (I've also grounded the mast to a keel bolt.)
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