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Old 04-12-2020, 18:57   #1
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What do you do to mitigate lighting damage?

I figure it's not "if I get struck by lightning" it's "when I get struck by lightning".

What is the best solution to deal with this threat?

Thanks
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Old 04-12-2020, 19:12   #2
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Re: What do you do to mitigate lighting damage?

Insurence
But it’s not a sure thing, I’d bet that those that have been struck are a minority,or insurence wouldn’t cover it, you would buying special high dollar lightning insurence if it were that common.
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Old 04-12-2020, 19:31   #3
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Re: What do you do to mitigate lighting damage?

Some stats on strike: around 1:15


Many differing views out there.
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Old 04-12-2020, 19:54   #4
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Re: What do you do to mitigate lighting damage?

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Insurence
To me the definition of "Insurance" is "Poor planning".

I'm looking for ways to handle lightning beforehand. Not pay for the damage after the strike.
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Old 04-12-2020, 20:23   #5
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Re: What do you do to mitigate lighting damage?

All problems are not solvable


No lightning protection system is 100% effective


The goal is always to mitigate damage and improve the odds. In that light it is a tradeoff vis a vis upfront costs, weight, ongoing maintenance, and things like galvanic corrosion


You can ground the mast


You can put gas tube suppressors on the masthead antenna line. I use them at my house
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Old 04-12-2020, 20:45   #6
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Re: What do you do to mitigate lighting damage?

I live at high altitude and there are a lot of strikes up here. I put normal lighting rods on my metal pole building and house. We got a strike on the metal building with no damage. One of my neighbors is an engineer and built a marvel of lightning protection on his house. They had a strike that destroyed every electrical appliance in the house and blew the stones off the fireplace. Pieces of stones flew clear across the great room and went through a wall.
"Best laid plans of mice and men" and all that....
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Old 05-12-2020, 10:12   #7
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Re: What do you do to mitigate lighting damage?

Live somewhere with no lighting...
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Old 05-12-2020, 10:16   #8
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Re: What do you do to mitigate lighting damage?

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Live somewhere with no lighting...
Thank you Captain obvious...
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Old 05-12-2020, 10:31   #9
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Re: What do you do to mitigate lighting damage?

One protective move is clear and simple: take a stainless cable and attach it to the port & starboard cap shrouds and run it to about 1.5 ft below the water level. Attach it to the shroud itself (above swages and turnbuckles) using one or more split bolts. You can use vinyl covered cable like what's used for lifelines. Effective and nearly invisible. To increase this, attach one to each side of any metal frames above the cockpit.
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Old 05-12-2020, 10:37   #10
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Re: What do you do to mitigate lighting damage?

have a look at Marine Lightning Protection Inc.. I'm in the process of getting Ewen Thomson to design us a system now. I started another thread on here that may be worth reading through as well.
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Old 05-12-2020, 10:37   #11
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Re: What do you do to mitigate lighting damage?

When I lived in Florida, my 67 foot mast was the highest point in the area.

I put a jumper cable attached to the side shroud and into the water.

The theory was that the lightning would go around the boat not through the boat.

I had seen a boat with a hole blasted right through it from a lighting strike and had seen other sailors do the same thing with a cable attached to the shrouds.

I can't say it worked or not, as I never got hit after putting the jumper cable on.
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Old 05-12-2020, 10:37   #12
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Re: What do you do to mitigate lighting damage?

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One protective move is clear and simple: take a stainless cable and attach it to the port & starboard cap shrouds and run it to about 1.5 ft below the water level. Attach it to the shroud itself (above swages and turnbuckles) using one or more split bolts. You can use vinyl covered cable like what's used for lifelines. Effective and nearly invisible. To increase this, attach one to each side of any metal frames above the cockpit.
This seemed the logical option. Give the electricity a good path to the water. But there seemed to be scant little information about such a thing so I figured I would ask for more info. Thanks.
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Old 05-12-2020, 10:42   #13
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Re: What do you do to mitigate lighting damage?

1. Provide a direct path to ground. On a sailboat that means connecting the mast to the keel assuming a conductive mast and an exposed all metal keel. If the mast is wood connect the rigging. If the keel is encased connect to a large metal hull plate.
2. Disconnect anything electrical that you want to preserve. For added protection place it in a faraday cage (oven, microwave, ammo box, metal tool box, metal fridge or freezer).
3. Insurance.
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Old 05-12-2020, 11:22   #14
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Re: What do you do to mitigate lighting damage?

I thought most boats built today had a ground system running from mast top to the keel using a copper wire to transfer the electric strike to the water through the keel. If it wasn't there already I would insert one. the other method would be a quick use of the jumper cable from mast and overboard into the water.
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Old 05-12-2020, 11:45   #15
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Re: What do you do to mitigate lighting damage?

Sailing south down the west coast of Central America, there were forty boats is our informal "fleet". Off Costa Rica, the "lightning capital" of the west coast, 27 of those boats were damaged by lighting. No one was injured, but the effects ranged from one boat that simply had every electronic device, including all of the kids' games, turn on, to two boats that sank. One because the exiting lightning blew out every bronze thru-hull on the boat, and one because the exiting charge put billions of tiny pinholes in the hull right at the waterline, and the sea seeped in like two 60 foot sponges. On one boat all that happened was that thru-hulls, again bronze, were electro-polished to the point that they looked like gold. One boat had a big fire-ball pass through the cabin. One boat. That I personally witnessed had her mast turned into a pillar of blue smoke! The interesting thing is that the lighting did not have to actually strike the boat. Some boats lost all of their electronics when the boat anchored near them was struck! The most interesting thing was the fact that all of the boat had different anti-lightning gear and strategies. Some had the masthead brushes, some dragged bonded chains overboard, some had electronic "lightning deflectors". Nothing worked and we could not find any commonality. On my boat, we had a small icon of Saint Barbara, the patron saint of lightning strikes, tacked to the mainmast. We were not damaged.
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