I am currenly cruising the Pacific side of Central America
... The summer months here are their rainny season and with that comes some really spectacular lighting
I have meet several boat owners here who were stuck by lighting
and read numerous articles on the subject.
Basically, if it is a direct strike or a near strike, at a minimum you will loose all your low voltage equipment
and possibly be holed if the lighting decides to go to ground therough a metal through hole or your fiberglass hull
Some boats have report seeing "St. Elmos Fire" on their masts, but had no damage.
Of all the reading I did on lighting before coming here, I found that discussing lightining arresting systems is like dicussing anchors. Everyone has different ideas. From static disipators to full on grounding of the vessel hull
and it's mast
After this I concluded, none of it will protect your electronics
in a direct strike, but it might possibly prevent serious injuries or sinking. With that said, I found no statistical data or stories of vessels with lightning
who had been struck to determine if the gear
actually did anything.
The facts are lighting is infinitly random... about 4% of boats get struck by lighting in Florida
. Boat US has a great article here:
BoatUS.com - Seaworthy Magazine
An interesting fact they provide, found that multi hulls were struck more by lightning
than mono hulls... Maybe more surface area on the water