You can fit gaseous arresters in both battery or DC power legs, but you have to have a proper lightning protection system and its own earth plate to be more or less safe.
Lightning is NOT caused by storms, it is caused by the jet stream. Storms just provide it an ideal situation for the tremendously high voltages caused to reach earth. This charge build-up can discharge to earth when there are no visible storms, the so-called "Blue" lightning because it comes out of a blue sky.
Such discharges are usually quite severe when they do happen, but they are quite unusual.
There are degrees of severity in storm lightning discharges, because of local charge conditions and storm turbulence.
You can protect yourself and your vessel to a considerable degree by using a proper lightning protection system that will withstand a light discharge, but the main idea of lightning protection is to prevent the formation of an ionised pathway from your vessel to an area of high charge density in the atmosphere. That prevents, or reduces the likelihood, of a severe discharge. Those discharges one sees to the lightning rods on buildings are comparatively light strikes.
Gaseous arresters are devices designed to remove electrostatic charges from aerials and rigging
etc. They are like gas fuses
, they contain a gas at a reduced pressure, and they are placed between the positive and negative leads, with the centre electrode connected to a good sea or buried land earth.
The gas in the tube is at a reduced pressure and will become a conductor if the voltage reaches a set level, and it will continue to conduct current until the voltage drops, like the tube in a photographer's electronic flash unit, when it will then cease to conduct. When they go off they make a pop, and it is not unusual to hear them go off.
Since nothing is static during turbulent electrical
storms, there is no simple way to describe it and its continual movement of charges except to say lightning is an electrostatic discharge phenomenon, and nothing will withstand a severe discharge undamaged.
However, if the immediate area around your vessel is devoid of any local areas of high charge, and the air is not thereby ionised (not easy with moisture in the air and dust) then the chances of you getting a BIG strike are considerably reduced. Other areas will have a better charge density and provide a better path, because there is no discharge to earth except from the lightning discharge itself.
There is plenty of information about providing lightning protection for vessels in the archives
. For your own safety
, ignore the people who tell you there is nothing that can be done. If you are aboard a steel
vessel, with a proper sea-earth special discharge plate, (separate from the one for your radios and radar
etc) you are far safer than aboard a glass vessel with no additional lightning protection.
You do not "Attract" lightning by fitting proper protection. The voltages are so high that your only chance is to decrease the likelihood of your vessel being the best pathway to earth, and the way to do that is to drain to earth any local charges likely to provide an ionised pathway to an area of high charge density.
You can put your expensive electronic stuff in a microwave oven
not connected to any power source, which will give you both electromagnetic and electrostatic protection to delicate circuits during a storm. A safe built of Mu-Metal is even better.