Originally Posted by Canibul
was originally wired pretty much like that, with the exception of (possibly) the mast
. But bottom line, sounds like unless I build a Faraday cage around the entire boat there's really not much I can do to prevent lightning
Most sensible, and cost effective, thing I am seeing here is to try to remember to disconnect the antennas on the mast head
when there's a storm going on, or when leaving the boat.
I see some nice arguments here for putting everything of value on a radar arch
and just living with some reduced range to line-of-sight systems. Or mounting antennas on the spreaders, perhaps?
Depends on location and use.
For weekend warriors in Ontario
(freshwater, off boat more than on, few thunderstorms) I recommend, "If your boat came with lightning protection, keep it, but don't bother putting one on if it hasn't.
The story is different if they plan sailing south.
For live-aboards in Florida
(saltwater, on boat all the time, likely to be hit once ever 11 years) I recommend installing a lightning protection system if it has none.
The most important benefit of a lightning protection system, is reducing the risk of side flashes that may electrocute people on the boat. The second most, reducing the risk of blowing holes in the hull
, sinking, and drowning people on the boat. Reducing the risk of electronics
damage is way down the list.
The easiest solution to help save the VHF radio
is to disconnect the coax at the deck
fitting (and move it as far away as practical).
A pretty good and easy solution is to place disconnected expensive electronics
in the microwave (or other suitable Faraday cage) when not in use. (Ensure the breaker is taped off when electronics are inside or you may see other kinds of sparks.) One has to temper this with the fact that handling and connecting / disconnecting electronics is likely to damage something.
The best method for protecting the VHF antenna
is to install a full blown lightning protection system (see Dr. Ewen's white papers) with a proper air terminal with tip at least 10" above the top of the VHF antenna
I recommend a ground plate or strip vs the through hull
terminals, as while the latter may be superior for lightning protection, they may be cause of maintenance
and aesthetic issues. Remember, the focus of the good doctor's proposals are for maximum lightning protection, all else be dammed.)
For those in between Lake Ontario
and Key West
, ya pays yer money
and ya takes yer chances. Really depends on your pucker factor.
Most people who install a new lightning protection system, do it immediately after a strike. (I suggest if you would be inclined to install one after a strike, why not install it before?)
To a friend I saw clamping booster cables
onto his shrouds and dipping them in the water
with the approach of threatening skies, I advised, "Well, it won't likely do anything, but it certainly can't hurt, and if it makes you feel like you've done something useful to protect loved ones, have at it. But if you really want a lightning protection system, that ain't it."
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