Why ground rig to swim ladder? - SailNet Community
 
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post #1 of 9 Old 04-16-2019 Thread Starter
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Why rig grounded to swim ladder?

What is this wire from the backstay to the swim ladder on my boat? Can't be grounding, since as far as I know the backstay is not connected to the electrical system..
Is it a lighting grounding? But only when the swim ladder is down?? Doesn't seem very effective.. Am I supposed to drop the ladder in during a lightingstorm? Any reason I shouldn't take this off?

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post #2 of 9 Old 04-16-2019
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Re: Why ground rig to swim ladder?

I've never seen or heard of a swim ladder being grounded, but a static electric charge can be stored in ss rigging, and maybe the PO wanted to be sure it was discharged before anyone climbed down the ladder into the water. That's my best guess.
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Re: Why ground rig to swim ladder?

Is the position of the swim ladder such that a person would naturally grab the backstay when climbing into the boat?

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Re: Why ground rig to swim ladder?

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Originally Posted by Minnesail View Post
Is the position of the swim ladder such that a person would naturally grab the backstay when climbing into the boat?
Not sure, it might..? So perhaps people where getting static shock grabbing it when climbing up?
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Re: Why ground rig to swim ladder?

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Not sure, it might..? So perhaps people where getting static shock grabbing it when climbing up?
That was my thought.

I don't know why it would happen though. Masts shouldn't build up a static charge, should they?

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Re: Why ground rig to swim ladder?

Sailboat rigging can pick up an electric charge from various sources. As I understand it, electricity exists within an electromagnetic field, and, if a sailboat's rigging passes through that field, it can "collect" some of those radiated electrons. Those electrons try to find a way to go to ground. If you touch the backstay when the rigging is charged with electrons, and simultaneously touch the outboard motor while it's in the water, the electrons will go to ground through you. I used to have to sail under a high power transmission line hanging across the mouth of a broad creek to get to my marina, and got a pronounced electrical "bite" in just that way several times.
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Re: Why ground rig to swim ladder?

I don't see a picture, but is it possible what you are describing is just a pull for bringing the ladder aboard? Or a standoff for leaving the ladder standing straight up so you can access the step better?

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Re: Why ground rig to swim ladder?

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Originally Posted by Sailormon6 View Post
Sailboat rigging can pick up an electric charge from various sources. As I understand it, electricity exists within an electromagnetic field, and, if a sailboat's rigging passes through that field, it can "collect" some of those radiated electrons. Those electrons try to find a way to go to ground. If you touch the backstay when the rigging is charged with electrons, and simultaneously touch the outboard motor while it's in the water, the electrons will go to ground through you. I used to have to sail under a high power transmission line hanging across the mouth of a broad creek to get to my marina, and got a pronounced electrical "bite" in just that way several times.
That makes sense. A wire passing through a magnetic field will generate current, so if there are overhead wires with strong enough current that could happen (obviously, I'm sure you all remember high school physics). How strong it would get, and how common this is I don't know, seems a bit unlikely. Still tempted to take it off and see how it goes. Rather than this bulky, ugly wire on the back of my boat..

Last edited by Scandium; 4 Weeks Ago at 06:41 AM.
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Re: Why ground rig to swim ladder?

It is unusual to see a swim ladder grounded, so I suspect the PO had a unique reason for grounding it. For example, if he had a heart pacemaker, he might have grounded the ladder to ensure that he wouldn't receive a small shock that might affect the pacemaker, or he might have just had an exaggerated fear of electrical shock, or maybe he knew something that we don't know, and we should all be grounding our swim ladders.
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